Early retirement and MRA


Q. I am 46 and have 25½ years of service. If I accept an offer of an early retirement, do I have to wait until I reach my minimum retirement age to start receiving my annuity? Also, will my payment for unused annual leave hours be included in my last paycheck?

A. Anyone who has at least 25 years of service can retire at any age if offered an early retirement opportunity. However, you wouldn’t receive the special retirement supplement until you reach your minimum retirement age. (MRAs range between 55 and 57, depending on your year of birth.) You’ll have to check with your payroll office to find out if your lump-sum payment for unused annual leave will be included in your final paycheck or will be sent to you after you leave the service.


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. Also, with early retirements or those who retire regularly between their MRA and age 62 under FERS, there is NO annual Cost of Living increase on your FERS Annuity until age 62. The gross amount of your FERS Retirement Annuity will remain unchanged until age 62. After age 62, you will then receive annual cost of living increases.

  2. I have a follow-up question. At age 51, I will have 25 years in the Postal Service. I understand that if I was offered an early out, I wouldn’t be able to withdraw the special annuity until my MRA which is 57 for me. I am wondering how I would calculate how much my retirement pension would be. Would it still be based on the equation as if I were at my minimum retirement age? In my case, .01×31(years I would have at MRA) x65,000.

    • No it wouldn’t be based on your minimum retirement age. Your annuity would be calculated using the standard formula:
      .01 X your high-3 X your years and full months of service on the day you retire.
      There wouldn’t be any age penalty for retiring before your MRA.

  3. I have reached MRA and I have over 35 1/2 years of service. I heard there is a VERA in the near future. Will I benefit from the proposed VERA

    • No. That’s because you already have the right combination of age and service to retire whenever you feel like it. The VERA is designed to allow certain employees who don’t have the age and service to retire on an immediate annuity to do so. To qualify for retirement they must either 1) have reached their MRA and have at least 20 years of service or 2) be any age if they have at least 25 years of service.

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