Q: I am a 49-year-old FERS employee with 27 years of service and am currently eligible for a VERA & VSIP. I am considering resigning or retiring for another non-federal position to remain in my current location. I would like to lock in my retirement and benefits eligibility, yet avoid all the reduction of purchase power the early retirement with no COLA until age 62 will result in. What is my best option to accomplish this? Am I eligible for a postponed retirement through VERA, and will that enable my eligibility for my health care, LTC, and life insurance?
A: Because you have at least 25 years of service, you would be eligible to retire under the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority. Further, there would be no age reduction penalty for doing so. You would also be eligible for the special retirement supplement when you reach your MRA, unless you were earning more through wages or self employment than the annual Social Security earnings limit. In 2011 that limit is $14,160. As a retiree, you would be able to continue your coverage under the FEHB, FEGLI and LTC programs.