Q. I work for NASA and will be eligible for early FERS retirement under a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority this year. Can the agency or center deny an employee who requests a VERA separation if he/she is eligible? The response from my center has been, “While VERA requests are generally approved, employees must remember that separating under VERA is not an automatic entitlement and requests can be denied for various reasons.”
I would like some policy insight to substantiate this statement. Are there approved criteria associated with such a denial? I would like to plan in advance for an early retirement, but this would not be possible if a denial could occur at the time of application.
A. Your center is correct. VERA is a management tool, which it can use to achieve its organizational goals. In its sole discretion, it can identify the positions to which the VERA applies and omit others. What it can’t do is single out an individual who is part of a group holding the same occupation and grade and say, “X can sign up for early retirement and Y can’t.”