Break in service — refund on FERS?


Q. I had just over five years of federal service before resigning and moving out of state. So, I had a break in service. I am now back in the federal service and want to know if the prior years will count toward my retirement. And if I leave the federal system again, will I still get an annuity check at age 62 because I was vested? I did withdraw my Thrift Savings Plan, but I did not get a refund of my FERS retirement deductions. Can I get a refund of my FERS retirement deductions because I had a break in service?

A. If you had five years of service and didn’t get a refund of your retirement contributions, you could apply for a deferred annuity at age 62.

If you weren’t re-employed by the federal government, you could ask for a refund of your contributions at any time. Since you are re-employed, you can’t.


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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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