Q. I was an air traffic controller. My Federal Aviation Administration hire date was Sept. 30, 1990. I was terminated March 8 — 261 days from being eligible for retirement because I lost my medical. My 50th birthday is Nov. 24. I have over 22 years of “good time” and five years of military time, which I bought back, for a total of 27 years of government service. The FAA says I can file for a disability retirement, but otherwise I am entitled to nothing. Can this be right? Even if I get the disability retirement, it will be less than what I would have received at age 50.
A. You have two choices. You can file for disability retirement and, if approved, receive an annuity based on the same formula as any other FERS disability retiree. Or you can apply for a deferred annuity at age 60, which would be computed using the standard FERS formula, not the enhanced formula used for air traffic controllers who meet the age and service requirements to retire on an immediate annuity.