Contract vs. rehire


Q. About two years after I retired, I was asked to come back to work on a special project. I came back on contract. It worked great and was certainly less expensive than it would have been if I had been rehired.

Another project has come up, which I am willing to do, but they are trying to force me to come back as a returning annuitant, which I will not do. What is the determining factor between contract and rehire?

A. The decision of whether to let a contract or hire an employee to do the work is up to the agency. The main difference between the two is that a contractor agrees to perform a specific job for a set amount of money, while an employee is paid a salary, receives certain federal benefits, and is under the direct supervision of the agency. If you don’t want to return as a re-employed annuitant, you don’t have to. However, if they don’t agree to cut a contract for your services, then they and you are out of luck.


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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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