Early retirement


Q. I am a FERS employee and will have 32 years of service at age 50. I want to retire, but what penalties will I incur?

A. You can’t retire at age 50 unless your agency is undergoing a reorganization, realignment, or reduction in force and offers you that opportunity under the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority. If they did, you could retire on an immediate, unreduced annuity and begin receiving the special retirement supplement when you reach your minimum retirement age (MRA). If they didn’t, you could resign and apply for a deferred annuity when you reach your MRA. If you did that, you wouldn’t be able to re-enroll in either the FEHB or FEGLI programs.


About Author

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


  1. Unless your Federal career (at least 20 years of it) is in law enforcement, firefighting or air traffic control, you will have to wait till age 56+ (MRA) to be eligible for immediate FERS retirement. You have the years for full unreduced FERS retirement but not the age unfortunately.

    Like Reg said the only ways you can retire now with a full FERS retirement is if your agency is under early retirement authority from OPM and you specifically receive an offer from your agency to retire early or by early retirement due to discontinued service if your position is eliminated since you have enough service time to qualify for early retirement.

    If it was me I would not resign with the years you have already. With 30+ years under your belt you should be able to make it six more years or earlier if you are offered a chance to retire early. No sense permanently tossing aside your FEHB and FEGLI benefits if you quit now, plus having to wait six years before applying for deferred FERS retirement.

    With the new Trump administration making promises of major cutbacks in many agencies there is a good chance you may well be offered a chance to retire early in the coming months/couple of years!

  2. Evelyn williams on

    I was 56yrs old with 24 yrs of federal(fers) service. I got injuried on the job, other health issues followed. I was approved Federal disability and ssdi. I chose to stay under owcp. If I collect owcp and ssdi will it affect my opm pension when I am ready for it? Will I inherit a debt to opm. My ssdi is offset by owcp. Will opm penilize me?

  3. I am a CIA employee detail to a DOD agency they are offering the VERA/VSIP to their employees . Do you wither CIA will be offering it to their employees. I have the age , time in government and at my high 3 . I do have 1 year to go before I can retire with 30 years

  4. This year, while filing paperwork for Disability Retirement, I was informed by Total Force Strategy & Mgmnt. Dept. that I was first eligible for early retirement in 2013. At that point, I had 25 years with DoD as a clerk.

    Now, in 2017 I have 29 years (+ 30-some-odd days).
    From “Joe’s” mouth to God’s ears, he told me I could likely get both; a VERA, that my Assoc. Director is authorized to grant me; [and] Disability Retirement (After I apply for it, after I separate). Since my Disability Retirement paperwork is now in D.C., I’m awaiting a decision.

    • My only other option [now] is Early Retirement. In essence, I found out that one needs to be out of work [completely]/unable to work in any shape or form in order to receive a Disability Retirement. Combined with the VERA that my boss is authorized to grant me, Early Retirement works; and, I’ll won’t be bound by disability rules, so I’ll be able to get a job after I leave the government; at least that’s what I was told.

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