VERA pros and cons


Q. I am a FERS employee working for the Department of Agriculture. I have been offered a job outside of the government and am trying to see the pros and cons of leaving. I am a FERS employee with a service computation date of Aug. 17, 1986, and am 46 years old. If I apply for Voluntary Early Retirement Authority, what would the disadvantages or advantages be?

A. Because you have at least 25 years of service, you could retire and immediately begin receiving an annuity, which would be computed using this formula: .01 x your high-3 x your years and full months of service. Because you accepted a VERA, you wouldn’t be subject to the age penalty. At age 56 and six months, you’d be eligible to receive the special retirement supplement, which approximates the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a FERS employee, However, if you had earnings from wages or self-employment that exceeded the annual Social Security earnings limit, the SRS would be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn above that limit.


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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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