Retirement eligibility


Q. I’m a FERS employee. Can I retire at age 53 with 25 years of service?

A. No you can’t, unless your agency offers you that opportunity because it is undergoing substantial restructuring, reshaping, downsizing, a transfer of function, or reorganization. If they aren’t, you can always resign and apply for an unreduced annuity when you reach age 60. Or you could retire under the MRA+10 provision when you reach your minimum retirement age, which would be 56 and 4 months. However, in that case your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent per year (5/12ths of 1 percent per month) that you are under age 60.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. Medicare part A qualification if your spouse turns 65 before you but your spouse doesn’t qualify for Medicare because they are a homemaker but I have paid into Medicare for more than 30 years but I have not reached the age of 65 is their a way for my spouse to clam my Medicare befits.

  2. Hello, I’m so glad I found your site, I have a few questions and I appreciate your time to answer 🙂

    My late husband was a wild land firefighter for the forest service and BLM, he died in 2000. I was only 39 at the time and have been receiving a monthly benefit of $325 per month and i was allowed to keep the health insurance. Fast forward 20 years. I’ve not remarried and turn 59 this year. My husband would be 60 this year.

    A couple questions:

    1. Can I claim his retirement, is it SS or a pension?
    2. Can I claim my own retirement at 67 too?

    I guess I’m not sure what I’m entitled too or if I just get the small monthly instead of his SS?

    Thank you

    Eva 🙂

    • If you were able to continue your coverage under your late husband’s enrollment, it means that the monthly benefit you are receiving is a survivor annuity. That annuity will continue until your death. Assuming that he was a FERS employee, you will also be entitled to a Social Security survivor benefit when you reach age 60. If you were covered by Social Security through your own employment, you can file for your own benefit at age 60 or later. The amount you receive would be the greater of the two benefits. At age 69, the amount of your own benefit would be 72 percent of the amount you would receive if you waited to age 67.

  3. If I’m currently 38 with 18 years of federal service and want to retire at 30 years of service which I’ll be 50. Will I have to find an additional supplemental income between 50 and 57 which is my minimum retirement age.

    • Yes, you will. With the combination of age and service you described, you could only resign from the government and apply for an annuity when you reach your minimum retirement age, which is 57.

      • Are you able to keep your health insurance during the interim between resignation and when you pensions starts (such at age 60 for an undreduced pension)? I would assume you would need to pay the full amount and the gov would pay nothing during that time.

        • You can continue your health benefits coverage for up to 18 months under the Temporary Continuation of Coverage provision of law. That coverage doesn’t need to be under your current plan if another would meet your needs at a lower cost. Under TCC you would have to pay 100 percent of the premiums plus 2 percent to cover your agency’s administrative costs.

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