Returning to work


Q. I took deferred retirement after six years and eight months as a GS-13 Step 10. I didn’t take a buyout or collect any retirement money. What are my opportunities to get back in government?

A. There is nothing that prevents you from being rehired. You’ll just have to find a position that fits your skills and experience and apply for it. You might start by checking with your former agency. You can also go online at, the federal government’s official job site, and see what positions agencies are trying to fill.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. I am a USAF Military Retiree (21 years, 2 months). I am currently a GS-09 Step 2 with 6 years as a federal employee. I am researching to find as much information as I can in regards to applying for the deferred retirement. Am I eligible to apply and which application form(s) are required? How long does it typically take to have the deferred retirement application process completed? Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

  2. Reg: I left federal employment with 23+ years service at a time below my FERS MRA (last employer was DHS). I am considering reentering federal service, probably at a lower grade, in a new geographic area that has different federal agencies. One reason for this would be to resume eligibility for FEHB in retirement. I was enrolled in FEHB for more than 5 years before leaving in 2006. What kind of appointment (part-time? or only full time? Seasonal? Term? ) is needed, and for what minimum time of service, in order to be able to retire with an immediate annuity and be eligible to have FEHB in retirement?
    Thanks for your insight.

    • There isn’t any cut-and-dried answer to your first question. When looking at different types of appointments, you’ll have to ask the agency if they offer the opportunity to enroll in the FEHB program. If you find a job you like that provides FEHB coverage and you immediately reenroll in the program, your coverage would be deemed to be without a break, so you’d meet the 5 consecutive years before retirement requirement. As for when you could retire on an immediate, unreduced annuity, it would depend on your and and service. For example, employees can retire at their minimum retirement age with 30 years of service (MRAs range between 55 and 57, depending on their year of birth). Or they could retire at age 60 with 20 years of service. And if they were age 62, they could retire with as few as 5 years of service.

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