Involuntary separation and retirement

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Q. I will be 60 years of age in December 2018 with 17 years of service with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. I have signed a Declination of Unreasonable Offer since the position will be outside commuting area, so I will be involuntarily separated. Do I qualify for severance pay and, if so, can I postpone FERS retirement for two years to receive FEHB? Are both events possible?

A. You can retire under the MRA+10 provision. If you do, you annuity will be reduced by 5 percent for every year (5/12ths of 1 percent per month) that you are under age 62. You can reduce or eliminate that penalty by delaying the receipt of your annuity to a later date. If you begin receiving your annuity immediately, your FEHB coverage will be continuous. If you delay receiving your annuity, it will be reactivated when your annuity begins. Note: Since you are eligible for an annuity, you wouldn’t be entitled to severance pay.

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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

3 Comments

  1. I too was reassigned from DC to Philadelphia. But I believed it was in retaliation for a whistleblower issue with my Assistant Secretary. I filed an appeal with my IG and the office of the Special Council. While I did not get my job back I received a substantial settlement. The individual did not discuss whether the reassignment had any underlying basis for the reassignment.

  2. OPM’s page on “Summary of Reassignment” discusses “Separation after Declining Geographic Reassignment.” I’m not sure where the questioner’s situation falls, but according to OPM, they can be eligible for severance pay. Here’s the cite: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/workforce-restructuring/Summary-of-Reassignment/#5

    5. Separation After Declining Geographic Reassignment

    The agency must use the 5 CFR part 752 adverse action regulations when separating an employee who declines a directed reassignment to a position in a different geographic area.

    An employee who is removed by adverse action for declining geographic relocation is potentially eligible for most of the benefits that are available to a displaced employee separated by reduction in force (e.g., intra- and interagency hiring priority, severance pay, discontinued service retirement, etc.).

    An employee who declines reassignment to a position in the same geographic area as the present position (e.g., from an Atlanta position to a different Atlanta position) is not eligible for any career transition assistance or other benefits.

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