Retire at 51?


Q. I am a FERS employee with more than 25 years of service at 51 years of age. I am interested in retiring at this point and want to know how this will work. I have money under the Thrift Savings Plan and do not plan to draw any annuity until I reach my minimum retirement age. Will I be penalized for each year I did not work until the MRA? Will I be paid for the annual leave I have at the time of separation? How will this affect my ability to opt for medical insurance when I reach the MRA?

A. You can’t retire now. The earliest you could retire is when you reach your minimum retirement age, which is 56. Therefore, all of your questions are moot.


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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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