Pre-MRA retirement


Q. In April, I will have completed 20 years of federal employment. I will be only 55 and will not have met the MRA, 56. I was told at a retirement seminar that I could still separate (at 55) and wait to apply for the postponed retirement when I reach MRA. Is this correct, or would this be a deferred retirement and would I lose my ability to renew my health and life benefits options when I reach 60?

A. Because you have at least 20 years of service, if you left before being eligible to retire, you could apply for a deferred annuity at age 60. However, you wouldn’t be able to re-enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits or Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance programs.

On the other hand, if you waited to retire until you reached your MRA, you could retire under the MRA+10 provision. Then your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were younger than 60. You could, of course, defer receipt of your annuity to reduce or eliminate the age penalty. Whenever you began receiving your annuity, if your met the five-year enrollment rule before you retired, you could re-enroll in FEHB and FEGLI.


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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