Unused sick leave and deferred or postponed retirement


Q. I am 53 years old with 24 years of FERS service and considering either a deferred or postponed retirement option in the next year or two. How does the newly enacted benefit for FERS employees to get service longevity credit for unused accumulated sick leave operate under the postponed or deferred retirement scenarios? I know you get 50 percent credit for longevity purposes for all unused accumulated sick leave for retirements between now and Dec. 31, 2013, and full day-for-day credit for unused accumulated sick leave for longevity credit for retirements on and after Jan. 1, 2014 in the immediate retirement situation.

A. Unless your agency offered you an opportunity to retire early, you wouldn’t be able to retire on an immediate annuity until you reached age 56. Since that would be after Dec. 31, 2013, you’d get full credit for any unused sick leave. However, you’d be retiring under the MRA+10 provision. As a result, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under age 62. You could reduce or eliminate the age penalty by deferring the receipt of your annuity to a later date.

If, instead, you chose to resign from the government and apply for a deferred annuity at age 60, there wouldn’t be any age-based reduction in your annuity; however, you wouldn’t get any credit for your unused sick leave.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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