Q: I worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 13 years, from November 1986 to November 1999 as a FERS employee. When I left the service, I did not pull any funds from my FERS account. I was rehired by the federal government in September 2010. I was born in 1963, and I’m currently 47 years old. My question is, what is my earliest eligible retirement age and will all of my government service be considered when I do retire? I’d like to work another seven years, but no more than 12 years.
A: Because you didn’t take a refund of your retirement contributions, all that time will be included in determining your total years of service and in your annuity computation. The earliest that you could retire is when you reach your minimum retirement age, which is 56. At that point you could retire under the MRA+10 provision (minimum retirement age with at least 10 years of service but fewer than 30). However, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under age 62. You could, of course, retire and postpone the receipt of your annuity to a later date to reduce or eliminate the age penalty. On the other hand, if you wanted to retire on an immediate, unreduced annuity, you would have to work until you reach age 60. By that time you’d have more than enough service to retire under the 60 + 20 provision.