Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Retirement benefits of fired federal employees

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Q. Does a federal employee who was fired get to retain FERS defined benefit plan annuity and government contribution of TSP? Does it matter if the employee is fired for performance or conduct issue?

A: Any employee who is fired, whether for performance or conduct, usually retains any entitlements he or she has earned up to that point in time. For example, if eligible for immediate retirement, the employee may retire. If the employee isn’t currently eligible but has the correct number of years of service, he or she can apply for a deferred annuity at a later date. However, if the conduct for which the employee was fired ended up with debts owed to the government, these could be recouped through liens against any retirement benefits or funds in the TSP. Only if the employee is subsequently convicted of crimes, such  as treason, would all retirement benefits be forfeited.  See 5 U.S. Code8311.

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