Losing one’s job


Q. I’m a 51-year-old FERS employee with 19 years 7 months of service.  If I’m released from my position, can I collect any type of unemployment? Would I lose my FERS annuity and TSP contributions?

A. Because you’d lose your job and not be entitled to an immediate annuity, you’d be eligible for unemployment benefits. As long as you didn’t ask for a refund of your retirement contributions, you’d be eligible for an unreduced deferred annuity at age 62 or greatly reduced one when you reach your minimum retirement age. As for your TSP contributions, you could either ask for a refund or continue to manage your account when you leave government.


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.


  1. This person is just 5 months short of having 20 years of service and over age 50, which would qualify them for an immediate discontinued service FERS retirement annuity for 20 years service. Unless this person has already received a lay off or warning type notice from their agency that their job may be eliminated prior to their attaining 20 years service, then they should be able to obtain the 5 months additional months of service time needed to have 20 years and be eligible for the discontinued FERS retirement annuity if the reason for their involuntary separation is due to layoff or unable to perform their job at a satisfactory level (not due to misconduct) and there are no other jobs the person is qualified to take, if offered.

    If the person is not being let go due to misconduct issues, then they should be eligible for the early/discontinued FERS retirement annuity at 20 years, in which they can continue their FEHB and FEGLI benefits. They would also be eligible for the Special Retirement Supplement at their MRA (provided the SRS is still available).

  2. I was a term employee with 6 years federal service and decided to retire at the end of my term so that I could keep the FEHB. However, because I still needed to work, I applied and am being hired by another federal agency. Does my 6 years term service count toward the 3 year requirement for 6 hr. Leave and TSP 3 yr. vesting? Paying for FEHB from my annuity. Should I switch back to paying for FEHB from my paycheck? Thank you.

    • Assuming that retirement deductions were taken from your pay, that time will count your annual leave accrual rate and for retirement. If they weren’t, that time wouldn’t be creditable, nor could you make a deposit to get credit for it.

      Unless your annuity is too small to cover the cost of your FEHB premiums, I can’t think of any reason to pay for them out of your salary.

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