Deferred versus postponed retirement


Q. For FERS retirements, what are the differences between a deferred retirement and a postponed retirement, especially as they pertain to FEHB benefits?

A. Some employees who retire under the MRA+10 provision (minimum retirement age with at least 10 but fewer than 30 years of service) postpone the receipt of their annuities to reduce or eliminate the age penalty, which is 5 percent for every year they are younger than 62. Regardless of when they activate it, if they were enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefit and/or Federal Employees Group Life Insurance programs for the five consecutive years before they retired, they can re-enroll. However, even if they activate it before age 62, they aren’t eligible to receive the special retirement supplement, which approximates the Social Security benefit they earned while FERS employees.

Those who leave government before being eligible to retire and have at least five years of service as FERS employees can apply for deferred annuities at age 62, with at least 20 years at 60, with 30 at their MRA and, as described above, with 10 at their MRA, but with the 5 percent penalty for each year they are younger than 62. Deferred retirees aren’t eligible for the special retirement supplement, nor can they re-enroll in the FEHB or FEGLI programs.


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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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