Involuntary separation

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Q. I have 23 years FERS service and am age 47. If I am involuntarily separated, will I be penalized 5 percent a year for each year I am under 56 (my minimum retirement age)? Would my annuity commence on the day of involuntary separation? And would I be entitled to continue my FEHB coverage?

A. Based on your age and service, you wouldn’t be eligible to retire. So, unless you later returned to government service, your only option would be to apply for a deferred annuity at age 60. As for health benefits, on the day you separated from the service, you’d receive a 31-day extension of coverage at no cost to you. You would then be eligible to continue that coverage for up to 18 months under the temporary continuation of coverage provision of law. You would have to pay 100 percent of premiums for that coverage plus 2 percent for administrative expenses.

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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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  1. To be eligible to receive an immediate early or discontinued service retirement under FERS, for those under age 50, you must have at least 25 years of Credible FERS Service (Federal Civil Service + military Service time that was bought back). For those over age 50, you must have at least 20 years of Credible FERS Service (Federal Civil Service + military service time that was bought back)! One caveat: you will NOT receive any annual cost of living increases on your early gross FERS Annuity Pension until age 62. Unless you return to Federal Civil service, the gross amount of your FERS Annuity will remain unchanged until age 62.

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