No retirement at 50


Q: I’m a FERS employee. At 50 years of age I will have 25 years of working for the federal government. If I retire then, what will be the penalty? If I was to leave at 50, but would not apply for my pension until I was 55, would there still be a penalty? Would my pension be 50 percent of my best five years?(25 years X 2 percent = 50 percent)?

A: You can’t retire at age 50. The earliest you could retire would be when you reach your minimum retirement age. MRAs range between 55 an 57, depending on your year of birth. You could, of course, resign from the government and apply for a deferred annuity. Since you’d have at least 20 years of creditable service, you could get that at age 60. Unless the law changes between now and when you applied, the following formula would be used to calculate your annuity: 0.01 x your highest three consecutive years of average salary on the day yiou left government x your years and full months of creditable service.


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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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