Forced retirement?


Q. I am a Department of Army employee covered FERS and not under law enforcement, which has a mandatory retirement age. I am 57 years old, a career employee, a 10 percent disabled veteran with 38 years of service. I have also had top block ratings in all of my previous five ratings. My plan was to stay until age 62 because provisions under FERS for retiring after 62/20 years of service will maximize my benefits.

I am being told by management officials that I am going to be forced to retire because I would cause younger workers to be RIF’d from federal civil service. Most to the younger workers that I would RIF are retired Army lieutenant colonels and colonels who are already receiving more in military retirement than I would receive at 62.

Are there any provisions that allow for agency forced retirement of federal civil servants as part of an agency restructuring? I am aware of Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay and discontinued service retirements, but I am at the top of my retention register and would bump military retirees out of jobs since we all perform essentially the same functions.

A. You cannot be forced to retire. Unless you are separated, for example, through a reduction in force, the decision is entirely up to you.


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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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