Severance pay


Q. I’m 55, with 29 years of federal service, of which only 16 is creditable to retirement under FERS because I have never repaid my active-duty time. I am being separated due to medical reasons. I have retired on the reserve side, and so can’t remain on the civil service side. I have applied for priority placement within the local commuting area but have not received an appointment. Am I eligible for, and at what point will I receive severance pay? According to personnel, I can’t receive retirement until 62, unless I repay the active-duty time.

Note: My letter stated that I was being removed through no fault of my own, that I was eligible for immediate unreduced retirement annuity based on my federal service. Under normal circumstances, I would receive a full year of continued employment as a civilian in what was my current slot. But I was denied that year of employment based on the full 29 years which supposedly made me eligible for retirement, but I was told I could not apply for retirement based on the actual creditable time. I want to know if this was correct.

A. To discover if and when you’ll be eligible, you need to review the Office of Personnel Management’s fact sheet on severance pay at


About Author

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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