Retirement at 61


Q: I am a FERS-covered employee with 10 years of service with the VA. I also purchased two years of military service. I have decided to leave in September of 2011 at which time I will be 61. I know I should wait until 62 but I have had enough. What are my penalties? At a high-3 average of $100,000 per year I have figured an immediate benefit of about $1,000 a month minus 5 percent. Does that sound right? In addition, if I do leave at 61 am I eligible for immediate health care?

A: Your annuity estimate sounds about right. As for health benefits coverage, you’d be eligible to continue it if you had been covered for the five consecutive years before you retired. Otherwise, no.


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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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