Q. I’m a FERS employee. I will be 52 in August 2014. I have 13 years with the Veterans Affairs Department, seven years military buyback. I have an 80 percent disability rating. Can I take the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority that is offered now at age 56 with 25 years, or a disability retirement? Will I be penalized in any way?
A. Nothing would prevent you from accepting an offer of early retirement. And there wouldn’t be any age-based penalty for retiring before you met the age and service requirements for an immediate unreduced annuity. While retiring under a VERA is a sure thing, being approved for disability retirement isn’t. The fact that you have an 80 percent VA rating may be unrelated to your being able to provide useful and efficient service as a civilian employee. Therefore, the only way you can find out if you qualify for disability retirement is to apply for it.