When to retire


Q. I am 61 years old with 20 years of federal service. I am trying to figure out whether I retire now or closer to 62. My plan was to retire next year at the end of July, but I am interested in the supplement that is not granted until I am 62. I am not too happy at my job right now and am thinking about getting out a little earlier. What advice do you have?

A. There are two parts to your question: one is emotional and the other is financial. The answer to the first is that you should retire when you feel it’s the right time. The answer to the second requires a review of the dollars-and-cents implications. If you retire now, your annuity will be based on your years of full months of FERS service. Furthermore, you’ll be entitled to the special retirement supplement up to age 62, which is based solely on the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a FERS employee. When you reach age 62, you’ll be entitled to a Social Security benefit based on your entire Social Security-covered work history,

If you wait until age 62 to retire, your annuity will be increased by one-twelfth of 1 percent for every additional month you are on the rolls. So, the longer you stay on the job, the greater your annuity will be. And if you wait until age 62 to retire, you’ll immediately be entitled to a Social Security benefit based on your entire Social Security-covered work history.

The decision is up to you.


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. Like Reg pointed out, it would be more beneficial to you financially if you waited till you at least reached your 62nd birthday or later to retire. Your 61 now and have made it this long, you should be able to last for the few months you have remaining till you reach 62 and your 10% FERS Annuity Bonus because you’d be retiring with 20+ years and age 62+. 20% of your high three becomes 22% when you hit 62 in addition you’ll get 100% of our age 62 social security vs just 50% at best of your age 62 SS benefit via FERS SRS for just a few months at age 61. Maybe give yourself a morale boost and apply now to retire on or shortly after your 62nd birthday. If conditions on your job change for the better or you find another job at your agency (or another Federal agency) that you like prior to your requested retirement date, you can always withdraw your retirement request.

  2. If you retire at age 61, you have less than one year to be eligible for social security. As to the annuity supplement, I am 55 and just retired with a buy-out from the federal government. I am hoping Congress does not abolish the annuity supplement. However, I have no qualms about my decision to retire early. The morale is so poor in my agency, people are all looking forward to the rumored buy-out to be offered in 2018. Only, without the prospect of the annuity supplement, many people may be deterred from exercising the buy-out and early retirement. The Government needs to re-examine its prerogatives before it is forced to replace qualified personnel with novices at the expense of providing low-quality services to the American taxpayers (who deserve the best service for funding the salaries of Govt. workers).

    • I agree with you on Congress proposing doing away with the FERS Annuity Supplement! If they do take it away hopefully they will put a grandfather clause in it allowing folks who are currently eligible or will be within say 10 years of being eligible to still use it! Like Reg said it will likely be a likely a years of service/age combo for grandfather clause (age 47/20 years service for example). If they do away with it without any grandfather clause then a lot of folks won’t leave early!

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