Lump sum benefit


Q. My father retired from the VA canteen cafeteria about 8-9 years ago, I believe. I believe at that time he retired with early retirement benefits instead of full benefits, since he retired early.  My question is that at the time he retired he was offered a lump sum of $25,000 and have his monthly retirement benefits decreased by $300 monthly, if he took the lump sum. But he decided at that time he did not want to take a lump sum, because he didn’t think it was wise, but now he would like to see if he can get a lump sum and still get a monthly retirement check, or just a lump sum, if it is the right amount?  Is this possible, or is this not what they mean on sites as “It’s your money, Get it when you need it the most?”

A  There was a time when a retiring employee could elect to have a refund of his retirement contributions and also receive an actuarially reduced annuity. Since then, the law was changed to permit that only for retiring employees with a life expectancy of less than two years. Unfortunately. there is no provision in law that would allow your father to receive both a lump sum and an annuity.


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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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