Retirement benefits of fired federal employees


Q. Does a federal employee who was fired get to retain FERS defined benefit plan annuity and government contribution of TSP? Does it matter if the employee is fired for performance or conduct issue?

A: Any employee who is fired, whether for performance or conduct, usually retains any entitlements he or she has earned up to that point in time. For example, if eligible for immediate retirement, the employee may retire. If the employee isn’t currently eligible but has the correct number of years of service, he or she can apply for a deferred annuity at a later date. However, if the conduct for which the employee was fired ended up with debts owed to the government, these could be recouped through liens against any retirement benefits or funds in the TSP. Only if the employee is subsequently convicted of crimes, such  as treason, would all retirement benefits be forfeited.  See 5 U.S. Code8311.

About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. Is usps employee any different rules, for any misconduct beside 5 us code 8311. be fired, able for immediate retirement with 20yr and 50 of age.

  2. I was a irs agent for 14 years 84 – 98, was fired. was under fers . was 40 yrs old in 98. took a loan out against my acct prior to being fired. Is my retirement account still active through fers ? will I still receive any retirement from fers. I did not repay loan as I was fired.

    • The loan you took out before being fired was from your Thrift Saving Plan account. If you didn’t ask for a refund of your retirement contributions after you left government, you’d be entitled to a deferred annuity at age 62.

  3. Began work at the PO in December 1990. If removed for misconduct, can this employee retire now (March 2018) and still collect FERS retirement including Special Retirement Supplement? While appealing the removal with MSPB.

    Thank you!

    • After receiving an email from a knowledgeable reader, I dug a little deeper and discovered that I was wrong. Section 44A1.1-1 states that employees who are separated from the service on charges of misconduct or delinquency aren’t eligible to a discontinued service annuity.

  4. Hi Reg, I thought that being removed for misconduct made you ineligible for a Discontinued Service Retirement. Per Chapter 44, DSR, CSRS/Handbook, Section 44A1.1-1, A. “Employees who are separated for cause on charges of misconduct or delinquency are not eligible for a discontinued service annuity.”

  5. I should also have included the section on FERS DSR, Chapter 44, DSR, CSRS/FERS Handbook, Section 44B1.1-1 C, Applicable CSRS Provision, which states that: “The following section and parts of subchapter 44A apply entirely to FERS employees:
    Section 44A1.1-2: Definitions, and Part 44A2: Conditions for Involuntary Separation.”
    So, being separated for misconduct makes a FERS employee also ineligible for DSR, from what I read. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  6. I have 18 years of service and was fired for causing a disruption in the workplace. Iwas on a last chance agreement so I have no appeal rights. None of the allegation are true, never the less . My question is do I still get my retirement at 62. I am now 58

    • I learned today from my Forman, my department is working with HR moving towards termination. I was sick, missed work, exhausted entire accrued leave, was verbally approved for LWOP & then charged with 3 weeks AWOL for not calling in everyday. Out for 8 weeks total. All during this Pandemic.
      Would I qualify for deferred retirement?
      Just over 4yrs of VHA Service, just learned today I have previous service to buy back US Army Corp of Engineers & USFS, bringing me over 5 yrs.
      60yr old, VHA Maintenance Mechanic,
      100% Permanent & Total Veteran Disability.
      What should I do? Retire? Resign? Or wait for termination?

      • Check with your personnel office to find out if you have 5 years of FERS service. That number includes both actual service and the time you spent on annual leave. If you do have 5 years, you’d qualify for a deferred annuity at age 62. If you don’t, you’d only be entitled to a refund of your retirement deductions.

  7. I have 28 years of service and was given a removal from service for returning late from lunch if I lose the removal and am offered a last chance agreement that has no appeal rights will I still be able to go MSPB? the reason I was late from lunch is because I was in a staff meeting that got out late so I started my lunch if I am fired for this I will definitely want to appeal my removal to the MSPB to get my job back if I am removed I just don’t know if I accepting a last chance will limit me from using MSPB

    • Accepting a last chance agreement lets you keep your job while barring you from appealing the matter to MSPB. Whether you decide it’s better to accept the offer and continue working or face separation and appeal that decision is up to you. Before making up your mind, You might want to consult an attorney who is familiar with federal personnel practices.

  8. If I am let go from VHA (r/t vaccine mandate) at age 59 4mo with 23 years of service will I lose the supplemental annuity? Will my retirement annuity be reduced forever?
    is there a difference in benefits between resigning and being fired?

    Very much appreciated!

    • Any employee facing involuntary separation can retire at age 50 with 20 years of service or at any age with 25 years of service. That annuity will be based on the standard formula:
      .01 X the average of your highest three years of basic pay X your years and full months of service.
      Because you have already reached your minimum retirement age, you’ll be entitled to the special retirement supplement.

  9. I’m 55 with 29 years FERS service, my MRA is 8 Jan 2023. It appears from reading the above responses I could get a deferred retirement and would still be eligible for the ‘special retirement supplement’ (Annuity Supplement in GRB) should I choose to separate rather than bend a knee to the vaccine mandate. Would I keep my matching funds and gains from TSP and be able to draw on the account penalty free immediately or have to wait? OPM website seems to indicate I could.

    • You could postpone – not defer – your retirement under the MRA+10 provision and apply for an annuity when you reach your minimum retirement age. When you do that, you’ll be able to re-enroll in the FEHB and FEGLI programs. I’m not qualified to answer your questions about the Thrift Savings Program.

  10. I am a special provision employee, have over 20 years of “good time” as special provision. If I am fired for misconduct, yet not yet 50, can I just apply for my retirement when i turn 50? I can wait till 50 (not concerned with finances), is there anything I lose or ways to keep what I would otherwise lose? Thanks.

    • If you leave government, you won’t be able to apply for an annuity until you reach your minimum retirement age. At that time, the annuity for your 20 years of LEO-covered service will be computed using the enhanced formula.

  11. HI, I’m a FERS employee 46yrs old with 22yrs of service. I’m facing termination based on performance which is tied to an EEO complaint. If I am terminated, what happens to my health insurance coverage and how soon. Also, will I lose all of my accumulated pension funds? thank you

    • If you were separated, your health benefits coverage would continue for 31 days at no cost to you. You would also be offered the opportunity to continue that coverage in a plan of your choice for up to a year and a half, for which you’d pay the total cost, plus 2 percent for administrative expenses. The money you contributed for a future retirement benefit would remain in the fund and used in the computation of the annuity you’d be entitled to when you reach age 60. You could, of course, ask for a refund of your contributions; however, that would void any future entitlement to a retirement benefit.

  12. Janet Kittleman on

    I am 58 yrs with almost 15yrs of VHA service. Looking at facing involuntary seperation due to refusing the covid vaccine. What is the process to protect my retirement?

    • Since you have reached your minimum retirement age and have at least 10 years of service, you are already eligible to retire under the MRA+10 provision. However, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year (5/12ths of 1 percent per month) that you are under age 62. Alternatively, you could defer the receipt of you annuity to a later date to reduce or eliminate the age penalty. Note: If you retired on an immediate annuity and were enrolled in the FEHB program for at least 5 consecutive years, your health benefits coverage would continue without a break. If you postponed the receipt of your annuity to a later date, you could still receive health benefits coverage under the temporary continuation of coverage (TCC) provision of law for up to two years at your own expense. Whether you elected to do that or not, you would still be able to reenroll in the FEHB program when your annuity finally begins.

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