Q. I am considering taking a State Department full-time temporary excepted appointment NTE 13 months with no re-employment benefits. I am a career-status employee with the federal government. State requires a four-day break between my current position and beginning service with them. How does this affect my retirement benefits and my career status? Will I not be considered career status when I apply for new jobs after my temporary position comes to an end?
A. When you separate from the government, if you are covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits and/or Federal Employees Group Life Insurance programs, you will receive a 31-day extension of coverage at no cost to you. You will then have the option of enrolling in a health benefits plan under the temporary continuation of coverage provision for up to 18 months. For that coverage, you’d pay the full premiums plus 2 percent. You could also elect to have private life insurance coverage, for which you’d pay the full cost.
As long as you didn’t take a refund of your retirement contributions when you left, you’d be eligible for a deferred annuity at either age 60 or 62, depending on your total years of service.
As a rule, if you returned to work for the government, you would be considered a career employee and would get credit for your prior service in determining your eligibility to retire and in your annuity computation.