Retire at 60 to avoid annuity reduction


Q: I served in the military from 1978 to 1989 and was medically retired, receiving military pay. I started working for the federal government  in 1992 and am set to retire in 2012 under the Federal Employees Retirement System. I didn’t pay back my military time. Is it true that I will be able to retire in 2012, and what benefit would I have if I paid back my military time?

A: With 20 years of FERS service, you would only be able to retire on an immediate, unreduced annuity if you were age 60 or older. If you had made a deposit for that period of active-duty service, your annuity would be 11 percent higher (0.01 percent x each year of service), and 12 percent if you were age 62 or older (0.011 x each year of service). As long as you had reached your minimum retirement age, you could, of course, retire under the MRA+10 provision; however, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under age 62. MRAs range between 55 and 57, depending on your year of birth.


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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

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