Family leave to care for aging relatives


Q: I’m a Federal Employees Retirement Service employee, 54 years old with 25 years of service. I have a 91-year-old father with Alzheimer’s disease who requires full-time care. Is there any program where I could take an early retirement to care for him?  Also, I have an upcoming background investigation due. If I didn’t provide this, could I be fired, but still be eligible for immediate retirement?

A: Along with receiving approval for the use of annual or sick leave, you could request up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Whether you would be eligible for discontinued service retirement if you were fired would depend on the nature of the action used to separate you. You’d have to discuss this with your agency before making a decision.


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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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