Early retirement for spouse's illness


Q. I am a FERS employee with 27 years of service at 56 years old. Because my spouse is ill, I will have to retire early (sometime this year) to take care of him. Do I get penalized the 5 percent? Do I get to keep health and life insurance? And do I receive the Social Security supplement?

A. Because you would be retiring under the MRA+10 provision, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under age 62 and you wouldn’t be eligible for the special retirement supplement. On the other hand, you would be able to continue your Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage if you were enrolled (or covered by) the program for the five consecutive years before your retired.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.


  1. patricia Slaymaker on

    My spouse is sick. I am 59 I have 19 years in .can I take early retirement and keep my health insurance .and life insurance, What about if I worked on call

    • You could retire under the MRA+10 provision; however, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under age 62. If you did, you could continue your health and life insurance, as long as you had been enrolled in them for the 5 consecutive years before you retire. You could instead work part-time and continue as a federal employee and retire on an unreduced annuity at age 60. I doubt that working on-call would qualify.

  2. Hi, I have been a Fed tech for 16 years I have 21 National Guard. My husband was also but got a PEB. I am 38 and would like to know if I can retire to take care of him and take my financial stipend and benefits with me? Hes a Vet, as am I hes service connected.

    • Assuming that you are a civilian employee covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you aren’t old enough to retire. For your information, here are the age and service requirements:
      Age 62 with 5 years of service
      Age 60 with 20 years of service
      At your minimum retirement age (MRA) with 30 years of service (Note: Your MRA is 57.)
      At your MRA with as few as 10 years of service, but with a 5 percent per year reduction in your annuity for every year you are under age 61

    • You can only retire if you have meet the age and service requirements to do so. Since you are age 60, you can retire on an immediate annuity if you have at least 5 years of creditable service. Assuming that you meet that requirement, you should go to your personnel office and ask them to provide you with the paperwork you’ll need to fill out to retire. Then ask them to put a priority on processing that paperwork and sending it to OPM.

    • Please excuse the error in my previous answer. What I meant to say was that if you have 20 years of service you can retire on an immediate annuity, not 5 years of service. If you have fewer than 20 years of service and are covered by CSRS, you wouldn’t be able to retire until you reached age 62. However, if you were covered by FERS, you could retire under the MRA+10 provision. If you did, you’re annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under age 62.

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