Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Retirement options

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Q. I am 52 years old with four years of federal service. My understanding is that I can leave federal service after five years of service (at age 53) and still receive a pension when I reach age 62. Is that correct? Also, I am trying to determine how many more years of service I need to keep federal health insurance after leaving the government. My understanding is that I need six more years, for a total of 10 years, at which time I will be close to age 59. If I remain with the federal government for 10 years and retain health insurance, do I, at that time, begin paying the full premium without any government subsidy? Will my benefits remain as though I were a regular employee?

A. When you have five years of federal service, you’ll be vested in the retirement system. If you don’t ask for a refund of your retirement contributions when you leave, you could apply for a deferred annuity at age 62.

If you work for at least 10 years, you could retire under the MRA+10 provision. Your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you are under age 62. You could reduce or eliminate the age penalty by waiting until a later date to collect your annuity.

If you had five years of continuous coverage under the FEHB program when you retired, you could carry that coverage into retirement. If you postponed the receipt of your annuity to moderate the age penalty, you could re-enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program when your annuity began.

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