Q. I retired from the Air National Guard with 20 years (16 FERS and four active-duty buyback). Under MRA+10, can I apply for my annuity at my minimum retirement age (56 years, four months)? I read that I will be penalized 5 percent for every year I am under 62. Doing the math, it appears that it would take roughly 18 years to make up the difference in retirement pay if I waited until age 62. In other words, am I better off taking a 25 percent penalty at 57 rather than drawing at 60 or 62?

A. I can’t provide you with an opinion. What I can do is explain your options. You can retire at your MRA and either receive your annuity or postpone its receipt to a later date to reduce or eliminate the amount of the age penalty. Because you have 20 years of service, you would be eligible for an unreduced annuity at age 60. Be aware that regardless of when you begin receiving your annuity, it will be the one for which you were eligible when you retired, and it won’t be increased by any cost-of-living adjustments.


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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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