Years of service and deferred retirement benefits


Q. If I have 20 years of federal service (including more than 15 in the foreign service) but I haven’t turned 50, can I retire but defer receipt of my benefits/pension until I am eligible at age 50? For example, an employee is 47 years old and has completed 20 years of federal service. Can that employee leave the service and still receive full retirement benefits beginning at age 50?

A. Yes, you could resign and apply for a deferred retirement benefit.

Because you have at least 20 years of service, you could do that at age 60. Your annuity would be based on the amount of benefit you had earned on the day you left. FYI: When you applied for a deferred annuity, you wouldn’t be eligible for the special retirement supplement, nor would you be able to re-enroll in FEHB or FEGLI.


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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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