Q. Is Voluntary Early Retirement Authority offered to those who are already eligible to retire? Does VERA apply to your high-three calculation for retirement?

A. It’s clear from your questions that you are asking about the Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment, not VERA.

According to OPM, “The Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment Authority, also known as buyout authority, allows agencies that are downsizing or restructuring to offer employees lump-sum payments up to $25,000 as an incentive to voluntarily separate. When authorized by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an agency may offer VSIP to employees who are in surplus positions or have skills that are no longer needed in the workforce who volunteer to separate by resignation, optional retirement, or by voluntary early retirement, if approved.” As such, a VSIP can be offered to someone who is already eligible to retire.

Receiving a VSIP would have no effect on your high-3, which is based solely on your three highest consecutive years of average basic pay.


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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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