LEO retirement


Q. I will have 20 years 6(c) time on Jan. 10, 2020. I will be 45 years old. I am buying back 9 years of active-duty military time. When I hit 20 years 6c, can I retire, although I know that I won’t be able to start collecting retirement pay until I’m 50?

A. If you left government after you had 20 years of covered service, you wouldn’t be eligible for a deferred annuity until you reach your minimum retire age (MRA), which is 57. That annuity would be computed using the more generous formula for law enforcement officers. Any creditable service above 20 years would be computed using the standard formula. Note: You wouldn’t be eligible for the special retirement supplement nor would you be able to re-enroll in either the Federal Employees Health Benefits or the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance programs.


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. Elaine Lumsden on

    In order to receive the enhanced annuity for a law enforcement officer one must retire on an immediate annuity. If this individual elects to leave at age 45 and collect at their MRA, the enhanced annuity will not be used in their annuity computation as it is a deferred retirement, not immediate.

    • Steve's biggest fan! on

      So what you are saying is that when they decide to retire, they should either elect the immediate annuity or don’t retire at that point in time. Correct?

    • Elaine Lumsden on

      What I ask trying to explain is each retirement option has its own rules. In order to retire as a Law Enforcement Officer and collect the enhanced annuity computation, Chapter 46 CSRS FERS Handbook page 52 states the individual must be age 50 with 20 LEO years or any age with 25 LEO at the time of separation. Any individual leaving before meeting that criteria would resign federal service and then at a later date be eligible for a deferred annuity. Chapter 45, CSRS FERS Handbook page 14 states: Law enforcement officers who separate from service subject to FERS for reasons other than misconduct with 20 years of service as a law enforcement officer may receive a deferred annuity at the MRA with no reduction for age. Then you have to find how annuities are calculated. For deferred, whether they left as a LEO or not, since they did not meet the age and service requirement at separation to retire on an immediate annuity, the enhanced formula is not applicable.

      In the example above, the individual is not retiring at age 45 since they do not have 25 years of LEO service. They are resigning. The military service, since it was performed prior to his/her federal civilian service cannot count as LEO service, even if they make the military service deposit.

  2. Hello sir. I am a FED LEO and I will be 57 years old next year with 26 years of service. Someone told me I can put in a request for a waiver to extend my service until I am 60 years old. Is this true and if so, could you send me information or a web link where I can fill out the necessary forms? Much appreciated if you could. Thank you.

  3. I am a GS-0083 Civilian Police Officer working for the Department of the Navy, out of Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL. I have been a cop here for almost 10 years now. As long as I can remember, I have always been told by my supervisors, and other veteran officers, that we weren’t considered “Law Enforcement Officers,” and that we weren’t eligible for the LEO retirement. Well I checked OPMs website and the FERs definition of a LEO references 5 USC 8401(17): “an employee who’s primary duties are the investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the United States.” Then I checked what OPMs definition of the primary duties of the 0083 series: “The performance or supervision of law-enforcement work in the preservation of peace, the prevention, detection, and investigation of crimes, the arrest or apprehension of violators, and the provision of assistance to citizens in emergency situations, including the protection of civil rights. The purpose of police work is to ensure compliance with federal, state, county, and municipal laws and ordinances, and agency rules and regulations pertaining to law-enforcement.” And then I check what my Position Description (PD) states what my primary duties are: “Respond and investigate complaints, while enforcing state, and federal laws, UCMJ, DoD and Navy regs. Respond immediately and conduct preliminary investigations relating to critical incidents, traffic crashes, domestic violence, assaults, sexual assaults, child abuse/neglect, conducts investigations of crimes or suspected criminal activities, possesses the authority to apprehend personnel, proficient in mirandizing suspects and providing court testimony, performs traffic law enforcement duties (speeding, DUIs, reckless driving, etc.), conduct investigative stops, questions, detains and takes appropriate actions to resolve incidents as required. Responds to misdemeanors, felonies, and routine calls for service. I could literally go on and on, but I believe it’s self-explanatory. I need your help. I believe this to be an extreme oversight and I fail to understand exactly WHY we wouldn’t be eligible for a full LEO retirement. Nobody anywhere seems to know the answer to this.

    • If you want to pursue this matter, you’ll need to find an attorney who is familiar with the rules governing the classification of LEO positions.

    • If your position is not a covered position (ie a 6C position) then it is not a law enforcement position for retirement purposes. Some law enforcement positions get LEAP (Law Enforcement Availability Pay) in addition to having 6C position.

      This has nothing to do with your position or duties, it is entirely as to whether the Agency classifies the position is a 6C position for law enforcement retirement purposes.

  4. I have a question some what related. If I do 20 years leo and change to a non leo position in the federal government, would I be able to retire after 5 years of service and still receive a Leo retirement?

    • If you have completed 20 years of LEO service and move to a non-LEO position in the federal government, you could retire when you reach age 50. Your annuity would include an enhanced benefit for your LEO service and the standard benefit for any non-LEO service.

  5. Hired 2007 6c leo postion. Bought back 4 years military. I turn 50 in 2024. Can I retire in 2024 if I have 20 years total service and at age 50 like regulation says, even if it is at the regular rate and not enhanced? Or do I still have to wait until 2027 where I will be at 20 total years in 6c not counting military? Does the 4 years military count toward the 20 years or not? I have heard conflicting things.

    • No. Your 4 years of military service do not count toward the 20 years of law enforcement service needed to make you eligible to retire.

  6. I have a total of 9 years in May of federal service. 5.5 of those years of service were non 6c and the rest are 6c. How will the non 6c years factor in when the time comes to retire, as I plan to stay 6c the rest of my career.

    • This non-6(c) years will not count toward the 20 years of actual 6(c) service needed to qualify for the enhanced formula used to calculate your LEO retirement benefit. They will be calculated using the standard formula and included in your total retirement benefit package.

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