Deferred retirement


Q. I had 16 years as a FERS employee and bought back my four years of active-duty time (20 years). When I left my federal job, I was told by human resources to apply for my deferred retirement at my minimum retirement age (56 years old) because taking the penalty (2 percent a year for every year under 60) was still better because it would take 18 years to make up the difference if I waited until age 60 to draw the annuity. Does that sound correct to you? I left federal service at age 46.

A. You were given bad advice. The earliest you can apply for a deferred annuity is age 60. And that’s only because you have at least 20 years of service. If you had at least five but fewer than 20 years of service, you’d have to wait until age 62.


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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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