Early retirement options


Q. I’m about to turn 55 in May and will have 20 years at a quasi-government agency (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.) under FERS in July. My benefit statement indicates that I am eligible for ‘Voluntary Early or Discontinued’ in July with the early retirement if my agency has authority. The agency is reorganizing and human resources advised that they have sought approval from the Office of Personnel Management to offer buyouts and were awaiting a response from OPM. But HR was not sure how selectively my agency would offer them or whether they would only be offered to specific (and rumored) departments.

1) Is the proper or formal way to make it known that I’m interested via HR, or should I just wait for a possible announcement from the agency?

2) Could you explain the FERS supplemental annuity and whether it would apply in my case and when?

3) I work as a program analyst in a department full of financial analysts, and they would love to replace my position with a financial analyst position. Is it likely the department would be amenable to qualify my position as ‘voluntary discontinued’ due to job abolishment, thereby qualifying me for the ‘voluntary discontinued’ early retirement option? If so, would it be a good idea to have them initiate the effort to qualify me for the voluntary early?

A. 1. Since your agency has already sought approval from OPM, it would be OK for you to let your agency know that you are interested in early retirement. Unless your agency surveys its employees, there isn’t any formal way to do that. If it doesn’t, just mention your interest to your supervisor.

2. Employees who are eligible for early retirement are entitled to begin receiving the special retirement supplement when they reach their minimum retirement age. In your case, that would be 56.

3. You are asking for an opinion, and I’m not able to give one.


About Author

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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