Break in service


Q. I am a Defense Department civilian under FERS. I have nine years of service. I plan to take a break in service to finish a graduate degree program (actually resign). I plan on being hired again (probably four to eight months later) at a higher grade and working another two to three years. Is there any significant impact to any retirement related issues? Loss of Thrift Savings Plan, reduced benefits?

A. The only retirement-related impact would be that you’d have to work longer before retiring to make up for the period when you weren’t employed. If you were enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program when you left and re-enrolled when you returned, you wouldn’t have to restart the five-year requirement to carry that coverage into retirement.


About Author

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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