Credit for government contributions


Q. I was a FERS employee who was involuntary separated (performance related) after 16.5 years with the U.S. Dept. of Labor. I separated in September 2003. In 2004 I took a refund of my retirement contributions. Am I entitled to any pension that would be based on the government’s contributions to my account? I was born in 1963 and would otherwise be eligible for my pension in about 18 months.

A. No, you aren’t entitled to any pension. Your entitlement to a deferred annuity ended when you withdrew your contributions to the retirement fund.


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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. Martin Franks on

    You may be able to get an annuity and count that service if you return to government as a career employee, work 3 years, and get an annuity based on your total years and highest three years. Your annuity would be actually reduced base on the amount of your withdrawal plus interest; or you could pay it back if rehired by any government agency that uses the FERS system.

  2. That’s a great line of reasoning to at least come back to work for a few years, but just a word of warning — this employee is covered by FERS. That means he or she would NEVER be entitled to an actuarially reduced annuity. If this person came back to work and didn’t make a deposit for the prior service, then the annuity would indeed be based on the new high three, but the total service time for the annuity would ONLY be based on the three years he or she was back working. In other words, the only way to get credit for the prior Dept. of Labor time would be by buying it back.

  3. Asking for someone else. Very similar situation except voluntarily resigned in @2004 with @18 years service- Withdrew pension contributions.Came back as a Rural Carrier Relief ( non pension position) for 8 years. Understand not entitled to deferred OPM annuity and unable to pay that deposit back to qualify for annuity. Can you confirm

    • You are correct. When he withdrew his retirement contributions, he eliminated his entitlement to an annuity.

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