Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Retirement under FERS

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Q. I joined the military Sept. 12, 1978, and retired Oct. 1, 2008, with just over 30 years of active military service (no broken time). I began working for the federal government under FERS on Jan. 4, 2009.

I’ve been told that I can resign after five years of government service (Jan. 3, 2014) and collect retirement benefits from the federal government once I reach the age of 62. Is that correct?

If I have 40 hours of annual leave and 40 hours of sick leave, what is the earliest I can retire? Would it be two weeks prior to Jan. 3? Or one week? And if it is 2 weeks, will I be paid for both weeks or just one week (annual leave)?

Once I reach the age of 62, if I qualify for retirement benefits for my federal service, what will I need to do to begin collecting that benefit?

A. When you have five years of creditable service, you can resign from the government and apply for a deferred annuity at age 62. Neither your annual nor sick leave can be used to get you to the five-year mark. When you resign, you’ll receive a lump-sum payment for your unused annual leave. Your sick leave balance would be lost, unless you were to be re-employed by the government.

To apply for a deferred retirement, go to, click on Forms, download OPM Form 1496A, fill it out, and send it to the Office of Personnel Management three months before your 62nd birthday.

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