Penalty for early VERA


Q. I’m a CSRS employee with 34 years of service, but I am only 54. Thus I am not eligible for optional retirement. My agency has been talking about a possible VERA/VSIP, which would probably require leaving by the end of December at the latest. I would still be about six months too young for a normal optional retirement.

I am fully aware of the 2 percent per year penalty for taking a VERA at 55. Is that penalty always rounded up to the full year, or at just six months early, would it be pro-rated to 1 percent? While it makes a lot of sense to just do the simple math required to come up with a fractional year’s penalty, it has been my experience that the federal government, when it comes to things like this has a habit of rounding in whichever direction is less favorable to the employee.

A. The reduction is one-sixth of 1 percent for each full month you are under age 55.


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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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