Deferring retirement


Q. I’m a FERS employee who doesn’t have the age to retire but has 30 years with the U.S. Postal Service. Could I defer my retirement until I am 62?

A. You can resign from the government now and apply for a deferred retirement when you reach your minimum retirement age. (MRAs range between 55 and 57, depending on your year of birth.) Just be aware that when you do retire, you won’t be able to re-enroll in either the Federal Employees Health Benefits or Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance programs.


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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 think from what I’ve read elsewhere, you could postpone, as opposed to defer, your annuity under the MRA + 10 retirement. You would be able to re-enroll in your health insurance when you claim your retirement benefit at age 60 (and life insurance too) as long as you had the coverage for the 5 years prior to your resignation.
    Please correct me if I’m wrong. but I looked into resigning last year with the intent of a postponed annuity and this was the advice I received elsewhere.

    • To postpone the receipt of an annuity, the writer would need to have reached his minimum retirement age. If he had, he could have retired under the MRA+10 provision and postponed the receipt of his annuity to a later date. Because he hadn’t reached his MRA, he would only be entitled to a deferred annuity when he left government.

  2. Yes. I jumped the gun on the response and the writer didn’t disclose how close he/she was to MRA, but if they hang in there and wait till MRA and then resigned, wouldn’t the MRA +10 provision allow for re-enrollment in FEHB in a postponed annuity situation?

  3. Of course having just wrote that, they could retire on an immediate retirement anyway reaching MRA and 30 years. Ugh, rough morning.

  4. Are there any circumstances where you can re-enroll in FEHB with deferred retirement? I had to resign after 30 years of service, and age 54. My MBA is 56. I was told since I had 30 years of service I could reinstate my health insurance….that doesn’t appear to be the case. I am now covered on self and family on my husbands government health insurance but we chose no survivor unity. Reading all info it appears I will need to go back to work and retire immediate retirement at age 56 to keep health insurance.

    • Since you are currently covered under your husband’s Self and Family plan, when you retire, you will regain your entitlement to FEHB coverage if he were to die. Once you retire, you can either continue under your husband’s Self and Family plan or the two of you could switch to Self Only plans.

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