Retiring vs. resigning


Q. I am a FERS employee, age 54½, and I will have 20 years of service as an Army civilian later this month. My local human resources office sees no possibility of a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority. Once I hit 20 years of service, is my future annuity protected even if I leave service prior to my minimum retirement age of 56? What I’d prefer to do, if possible, is leave service and not begin collecting an annuity until I turn 60. Will that prevent me from having my annuity reduced as someone who would be under 62? And what would my personnel action be: a deferred retirement, or would I simply be resigning? I am concerned that if I quit, I might be ruining my chance to ever collect anything?

A. You would be resigning from the government. Then, when you reached age 60, you could apply for a deferred annuity. That annuity would be based on your total years of creditable service and your high-3 on the day you left government. The formula used would be the standard one: 0.01 x your high-3 x your years and full months of service. As a deferred retiree, you wouldn’t be entitled to receive the special retirement supplement that approximates the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a FERS employee.


About Author

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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