Returning to work for the government

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Q. I am in my 11th year of federal service under FERS with the Department of Veterans Affairs. I plan to take a break from federal service and accept a private sector job for at least two years; but I eventually plan to return to federal employment in the future.

1. Can I leave my TSP account unchanged for the interim, or will I have to roll it over elsewhere?
2. Once I return to a federal job, will I have to have at least five continuous years yet again to be eligible to continue my FEHB coverage when I retire?
3. Do all my prior years of service, including my prior high-3, still count toward my pension calculation?

A. 1. Yes, you can leave your money in the TSP.
2. As long as you immediately re-enroll in the FEHB program when you return to government service, your years of coverage will be treated as if they were continuous.
3. Your high-3 will always be the average of your highest three consecutive years of basic pay, regardless of when they occur in your career.

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About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

2 Comments

  1. I am a retired Federal employee. I kept my Blue Cross / Blue Shield health insurance. My wife broke her pelvis and sense then she has be receiving care through Federal Blue Cross. Now, she had a stroke and broke her arm. She is in a nursing home. Can she still receive her old injury care through Blue Cross, or is everything rolled over to the nursing home. The nursing home costs $8,000 per month. Can I not get Blue Cross care for her old problems. I will be out of money very fast.

    • Call Blue Cross/Blue Shield and ask them to determine how they’ll coordinate benefits with her nursing home.

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