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. If you withdraw your retirement funds once you leave the government, you give up all rights to a retirement annuity. There used to be a lump sum option where you could get a portion of those funds and still retire, but that only exists now as the Alternative Form of Annuity, for those diagnosed as Terminally Ill. You can read more about this in OPM Publication RI 38-123 at: https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/pamphlets/ri38-123.pdf

  2. Phoebe, I was going to say the same thing. You lose ALL RIGHTS to a FERS Annuity Pension if you cash out your retirement funds when you leave government. If you have even had just 5 years or more of FERS Federal Civil Service time before you left Federal Government employment you can still collect a FERS Pension Annuity, albeit a small amount at age 62 if you DID NOT withdraw your retirement funds. That small monthly FERS Annuity payment would likely amount to MUCH MORE money over the course of your life than the few bucks lump sum you would get withdrawing your retirement funds.

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