Q. 1. I left the Fed in November 2011 with 22 years of creditable service (military time buyback included) and, as I am under my MRA of 56, would not be eligible for my retirement benefits without penalty until age 62, correct? 2. Can I work part time (consultant) on an agency’s payroll without affecting my current status, or would that part time add to my benefit? 3. Also, if I came back to the Fed and did three more years of full-time work before age 62, would that reinstate my health benefits?
A. How such part-time service would be treated would depend on whether you were hired as a federal employee or a contractor. If the former, the nature of the appointment would determine whether it was considered creditable service. If the latter, it wouldn’t be.
If you returned to work for the federal government, either as a part- or full-time employee, and re-enrolled immediately in the FEHB program, that time would be included when determining whether you met the five-year requirement to carry your coverage into retirement.