Mandatory retirement age


Q. Is there a rule that says a federal employee must retire from federal employment? In other words, if a person chooses to, could they work until they die? This question applies to a person who is 57, has no retirement plan and has been a federal employee for two years and so will never build up any reasonable retirement.

A. Only special category employees, such as a law enforcement officers or firefighters, are subject to mandatory retirement at a specific age. Other employees aren’t. If you are one of the latter, you can work until the paramedics carry you out in a body bag.


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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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