Retirement eligibility


Q. I am 50 years old and have over 30 years of service (bought back my military academy and military time) and am in FERS. My minimum retirement age is 56. Is there a penalty for retiring now (or, more specifically, in November, when I turn 51) in that I will not have reached my MRA?

A. Because you haven’t reached your MRA, you can’t retire now. If you are determined to leave government, you could resign and apply for a deferred annuity at age 60.


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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


  1. I am 54 and my MRA is 56. I am being used as a scapegoat on false charges. I can not t afford legal representation. I have RA and the company is saying that I have poor decision making skills as a Supervisor and are looking to demote me. I have worked at the USPS for 30 years and loved my job and was very good at it. Should I resign and apply for Early retirement? I need help as I am a single parent /sole provided. I have been out on medical for 3 months and I am now out on administrative leave pending investigation.
    What is my best option please?

    • We aren’t able to give advice. What we can tell you is that resigning isn’t the answer. If you did that, you wouldn’t be eligible for an annuity until you reach your minimum retirement age (MRA), which is 56. Further you wouldn’t be entitled to the special retirement supplement (SRS), which approximates the Social Security benefit you earned while a FERS employee. The only way you could retire at your present age is if your agency fired you instead of demoting you. If they did that, you’d also be entitled to the SRS when you reached age 56.

  2. Just a suggestion. You could file for Disability Retirement (FERS). Your Agency HR is required to assist you with this. You will also need to file for SS Disability at the same time. Do not resign!

  3. I am 50 years of age with 26 years of experience under FERS with USCBP. I’ve been offered a job that far exceeds the one I’m currently at but would have to leave the agency. Is that possible with my time in and age limit? Can I file for retirement now? Been told I could but is resignation another option but from reading, doesn’t look good. If there is a better option, I’m all ears. Just want to be educated and not go in the wrong direction. My MRA is 56 and 4 months, I want out! Or wait?

    • If you’ve served as a law enforcement office for 20 years and are 50 years old, you can retire any time you want to. However, instead of retiring – which yo can do at any time – you might want to accept the higher paying position. Then when you do retire, your annuity will be based on the high-3 in your new position.

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