Approaching five years of service


Q. I’m approaching five years of federal service, which means I will be vested in my FERS annuity. I have a job offer with a state government entity that would like me to start before I am vested.  Can I use annual leave to get me to the five- year mark for vesting purposes?  If not, what happens to the .8 percent, do I get it paid out?  Does making it to five years affect a future return to federal service?

A. Your unused annual leave can’t be added to your service time to make you eligible for a future annuity. You must have served a full five years for that to happen. If you do leave before being vested, you can either leave your retirement contributions in the retirement fund or request a refund of your contributions. If you do that and later return to work for the federal government, you could redeposit the money, plus accrued interest, and get credit for that period of service. Whether you are vested or not vested when you leave wouldn’t have any affect on your re-employment possibilities if you decided to return to work for the federal government.




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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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