Q: I am a 55-year-old nurse who has been working full time with Veterans Affairs for 20 years. What is the minimum retirement age for me to retire with full health benefits? Also, if I were to continue working part time for the next five years, how would this affect my annuity and benefits?
A: As for your first question, you’ve mixed two unrelated things together. To be eligible to retire under the Federal Employees Retirement System with an unreduced annuity, you would need to meet one of the following age and service combinations, which match your situation: at your minimum retirement age (MRA) with 30 years of service or at age 60 with 20 years. You could also retire under the MRA-plus 10 provision. However, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under age 62. To carry your health benefits into retirement, you would have to be covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits program for the five consecutive years before you retire. Turning to your second question, if you decided to go part-time, your annuity would be adversely affected. To find out how much your annuity would be reduced, go to http://opm.gov/asd/hod/pdf/C055.pdf, the chapter on computation of part-time annuities.
— Reg Jones