Firefighter retirement


Q. I’m a firefighter under the special retirement plan. I’m at 20 years of civilian service but 44 years old. I meet the minimum service time, but not the age. Can I leave the civil service now? If I do, when would I receive my annuity?

A. If you leave before being eligible to retire on an immediate annuity, you could apply for a deferred annuity when you reach your minimum retirement age, which is 57. That annuity would be based on your high-3 as a firefighter on the day you left. Note: You wouldn’t be able to reenroll in either the Federal Employees Health Benefits or the Federal Employee’s Group Life Insurance programs when your annuity begins.


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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


  1. I have BCBS Federal Basic Self Plus one and elected to take only Medicare A. My wife just turned 65 this past June and has Medicare A only also. She is considering signing up for Medicare B, C and D. If she does can we keep the Self Plus one plan where BCBS is still my primary and BCBS is her secondary. Or will this require me to drop her from my BCBS basic Self Plus one plan and go to Self Only.

    I was speaking with a Medicare representative and they mentioned something about if your plan is comparable to Medicare B the 10% penalty charge per year for not signing up in time may be waved. If I elect to keep my BCBS Basic Self Plus one plan and sign up for Medicare B like my wife, does my BCBS Basic Self Plus one plan qualify me for this waver.

    • In order to answer your questions I need to know two things. Are you currently employed or are you retired? Is you wife currently employed or is she retired?

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