Quit private-sector work before collecting FERS?


Q. I am a former federal employee who took a voluntary separation in 1996 with just under 17 years of service.   Since then, I have been employed in private industry. I will be 62 in October, and I understand I am eligible to apply for my FERS benefits at that time. However, I do not wish to retire from my current private-sector employer until I am at least 65. I have searched the Office of Personnel Management websites in vain for any indication that I might be required to quit my current job, or limit my annual earnings as would be the case with Social Security. I do not want to simply assume that I am eligible just because of the absence of such information, as the website seems to be primarily geared to the interests of current government employees. At the same time, I don’t want to just leave my benefits on the table if I am eligible to collect them.

A. You earned your FERS annuity benefit and are entitled to receive it whether you are working or not. Unlike Social Security, there isn’t any earnings limit.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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