Penalties for early retirement


Q. I have a question about early outs. I am 53 and have 25 years of Federal Employees Retirement System service. If an offer is made in 2012, will I be penalized for the number of years I am under age 62? Reading the past posts, I am confused. Also, are health benefits based on the non-postal rate for federal employees? Is unused sick leave added to the annuity or years of service in the coming year?

A. Retiring CSRS employees are penalized for being under regular retirement age; retiring FERS employees aren’t. The premium rates for retired Postal Service employees are the same as those for all other employees and retirees. The lower premium rate for Postal Service employees is the result of union contract negotiations, which don’t carry over into retirement. FERS employees retiring before Jan. 1, 2014, will only get half credit for their unused sick leave; after that, they’ll get full credit.


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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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