Q. I am a FERS employee, have 28.7 years of service and am 56 years old, which put me in that MRA+10 provision and am eligible for the “federal supplement” check. I’m seven months away from having my five years under my health insurance. Why is it that I can get the OPM to sign a waiver so I can take my health insurance with me under a VERA, yet if I want to go now, I lose it? Or is there a way I can take it with me now regardless? If I could take my health insurance with me now, I would retire tomorrow. I understand that without VERA, I would get penalized 5 percent for every year under 62.

A. If you retire under the minimum retirement age + 10 provision, not only will your annuity be reduced by 5 percent for every year (5/12 percent per month) that you are under age 62 but you won’t be eligible to receive the special retirement supplement. No one who retires under the MRA+10 provision is. FYI, this is a requirement of federal law that applies to all federal employees.

As for carrying your Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage into retirement, you are required by federal law to have been covered by it for the five consecutive years before you retire. Virtually the only exception for which the Office of Personnel Management can grant a waiver is the one authorized under the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority.


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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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