Q. I am 55 years old and left civil service in 2001. I started civil service in 1990 and paid to add my military time (14 years) into my civil service time. When I left civil service at age 43, I had more than 25 years of creditable service. My minimum retirement age is 56 years, and I would like to start collecting my retirement annuity as soon as possible. Does it matter that I was involuntarily separated from civil service due to losing my security clearance for reasons that were not my fault? I also heard that if I were to take any federal service job at this time, it would change my retirement eligibility. Please advise me how I can start my annuity ASAP.
A. You could apply for a deferred annuity at age 56. However, because you’d be retiring under the MRA+10 provision, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year (5/12 percent per month) that you were under age 62. You could reduce or eliminate that penalty by delaying the receipt of your annuity to a later date.
If you went back to work for the government, you would only be eligible to retire when you met the age and service requirements: age 62 with five, age 60 with 20, at your MRA (56) with 30, or at your MRA with 10.