Retirement age


Q. I have 10 years with the military for which I haven’t made a deposit, and I will have 10 years in civil service. I’m a 55-year-old FERS employee. When will be the soonest time I can retire? If I leave the federal service before 62, can I still get my retirement when I’m 62?

A. The earliest that you could retire is when you reach your minimum retirement age, which is 56. However, you’d be retiring under the MRA + 10 provision and your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year (five-twelfths of 1 percent per month) that you were under age 62. If you made a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service, you’d be able to retire on an unreduced annuity at age 60. If you leave federal service now, haven’t made a deposit for your active-duty service, and don’t ask for a refund of your retirement contributions, you could apply for an annuity at age 62.


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


  1. I Have 7 years military and will have 10 years FERS soon What would be my retirement at age 65 approximately one year from now. I’m currently 64. Would buy back matter or not after 65. With buy back and with out buy back what’s difference?

    • Adding active duty military time to civilian time always matters. If you bought back your 7 years of military service, it would increase your annuity by 7 percent. However, you need to find out how much it would cost you to make the deposit and compare it with the benefit you’d gain. Interest on unpaid deposits can really mount up.

    • Steve, Karen is correct. It will cost more. But, in time the monthly extra you receive will overcome the amount paid then you will be making money. You will be able to make good decision once you get the amount you owe. My advice to you is start IMMEDIATELY on your buy back. DFAS is running behind. Just got my buy back completed. Took 8 months. You do not have to buy back once they let you know how much you will owe. Good luck, get cracking!

      P.S. It’s a two part system. Send info to DFAS for them to calculate how much you made during time period requesting then DFAS sends amount back to you to send to a different DFAS section to calculate how much you owe. I know. It’s the government.

  2. and WHY did NOT u buy your military time BACK within the FIRST 36 months of being hired on? It would have been interest FREE and added on to the amount of annual leave you receive yearly. This drives me crazy that HR does NOT explain this and People don’t think. You would have had 20 years at this point. SMDH Now it is too late to buy back cuz it would cost a fortune.

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