Deferred vs. postponed retirement


Q. What is the difference between a deferred retirement and a postponed retirement for someone who meets the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority requirements for her agency?

A. You already have the age and service needed to retire under a VERA, with no age-based reduction in your annuity. Therefore, neither a deferred nor postponed retirement would apply in your case. A deferred retirement only applies to someone who isn’t eligible to retire but leaves government anyway. If he has at least five years of service and doesn’t ask for a refund of his retirement contributions, he can apply for a deferred annuity at a later date. A postponed annuity is only used if an employee is retiring under the MRA+10 provision and wants to avoid the 5 percent-per-year age penalty.


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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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