Q. I am a 48-year-old FERS employee and considering resignation with almost 28 years of federal service. If I resign now (age 48), at age 60 do I submit a request to the Office of Personnel Management to collect pension high-3 (28 years of service)? If this is so, would this be considered a postponed or deferred retirement?

A. Since you have 30 years of service and wouldn’t be eligible to retire when you leave, you’d be eligible for a deferred annuity when you reach your minimum retirement age, which is 57. That annuity would be based on your high-3 on the day you left government.


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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. Elaine Lumsden on

    And if you take this deferred annuity at your MRA, since you do not have 30 years of service it will reduced 5% for every year you are under the age of 62 whereas if you postponed until age 60, you can collect with no age penalty. However the high-3 will be what it was as if the day you resigned federal service.

  2. Also, since your retirement would be “deferred” to age 60 you will NOT be eligible to re-enroll in FEHB or FEGLI. You’ll only be eligible to receive a FERS annuity based on what your high 3 was at the time of your resignation!

    • And there’s the rub. I would resign / defer next year at age 48 with 30 years of service if only it were possible to reenroll in FEHB at my MRA of 57. Since that is not the case, Uncle Sam will have to cover my GS-15 salary and benefits for another 9 years. Many, many others are in the same situation to varying degrees. How is this policy in the government’s best interest? Adjusting it would accelerate attrition and allow for fresh talent at lower grades or other critical investment. What am I missing?

      • I agree with you that the FERS laws should be amended to allow someone who has 30+ years of service but has not reached their MRA the opportunity to leave government service and “postpone” vs “defer” their retirement till they reach their MRA and be able to re-enroll in FEHB and FEGLI when you begin receiving your FERS Annuity at your MRA. Under current MRA+10 rules, if you are at your MRA and have 10+ years service but less than 30 years you can leave and elect to postpone your retirement to a later date to avoid FERS penalties. By postponing can opt to re-enroll in FEHB and FEGLI at the time your FERS annuity begins.

        • However like Reg stated that kind of change to FERS is NOT likely to happen. Hopefully in your case your agency will soon be under Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and you can your agency will offer you early retirement NOW (you have enough service time NOW for FERS early retirement eligibility. Otherwise you can either keep working for FedGov till you reach your MRA or leave now and return to Federal Civil Service later if you want FULL retirement benefits!

          • I agree with Reg that if you leave FedGov after reaching 30 years of service then return after you reach your MRA only to retire almost immediately after you start working would be unethical and not fair to the hiring officials considering the time and effort it takes to fill a position these days. If you want to go this route of leaving then returning you should return to FedGov at age 54-55 to increase your chances of getting rehired (they know their getting at least 2 years from you before you spilt). Many FedGov hiring managers may be leery of hiring you at your MRA or NOT hire you at all (without a binding promise from you to give them say 2 years service) knowing you already have 30 years service and that you may retire with a few months of hiring you.

  3. Elain Lumsden on

    You could come back to work for the government at your MRA, work a pay period and then retire with full pension, the FERS Retiree Supplement and your health insurance since your FEHB has to be for the last five years of work, your non-work period would not harm you!

    • Yes,however, that’s assuming that an agency is stupid enough to go through the effort of hiring someone who won’t give them any return their investment. On the other hand, if they didn’t know they were going to be screwed, they’ve been victimized.

      • I appreciate both perspectives. Would extended LWOP achieve the same outcome without screwing anyone, and with the added benefit of retaining FEHB coverage for a year (5 CFR 890.303(e))? A policy change would avoid the need to play such games, but perhaps it’s justified but something I don’t understand. Can you offer insight?

  4. I am a Federal Employee of 17 years at the age of 55. My husband is sickly, who needs my care for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Can I retired disability since my husband is sickly, is there a penalty of my monthly retirement.

    If it does exist, what are the paper work requirement to submit my disability retirement.


    • Since you aren’t the one who is disabled, you aren’t eligible to retire on disability. You can, however, use up to 12 administrative work weeks of sick leave each year to care for your husband. If you don’t have enough sick leave stored up, your agency may at its discretion advance you a maximum of 30 days of sick leave for that purpose.

  5. I resigned from the federal government after 27.5 years of government service. I was 55 years old, and was told because I did not leave at MRA 56, I would not be eligible for FHEB or Life Insurance. I was planning to initiate my paperwork for retirement at 58yrs old. Because if I would have stayed with the federal government it said I was eligible for full retirement at 58years with 30 years of service. Please advise, am I still eligible for medical/life insurance when I apply for retirement at age 58? I was informed, “I would not be eligible for medical?” Despite my applying within the 5 year timeline after leaving the government? Thank you

    • Only those employees who are eligible for an immediate annuity when they retire can continue their coverage in the FEHB or FEGLI programs.

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