Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Law enforcement retirement and military buyback

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Q. I am a 38-year-old licensed medical professional for the VA with 17 years of service (10 years in VA/seven years bought back for the military service credit). A medical position in the Bureau of Prisons has been offered to me. Will my 17 years count toward law enforcement retirement? Will I have to buy back a portion of my creditable service time to equal the law enforcement percentage? Will I be able to retire at the 25-year mark under law enforcement? Is there an age waiver that will need to be completed allowing me to transfer to the bureau since I am 38?

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Law enforcement retirement

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Q. I would like to complete the fewest law enforcement years possible to retain my law enforcement retirement. I have 13 years in. I know I have to do 25 full years in law enforcement to get out completely at any age. If I completed 20 years of law enforcement and completed the remaining time in a noncovered position until age 50, could I obtain full law enforcement retirement? Do I have to be in a covered position upon turning age 50?

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Law enforcement service and retirement

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Q. I am 37 and have seven years of FERS service in a non-law enforcement officer position. I am considering changing to a federal law enforcement 1811 position. This will mean I will have 20 years of law enforcement service at 57. Can I choose to retire at 50 (minimum law enforcement officer retirement age)? I will then have 20 years of FERS service, seven as non- law enforcement and 13 as law enforcement. Or will my minimum retirement age be 57, the age I will be when I have 20 years’ strictly law enforcement service? If the latter is the case, do my seven non- law enforcement service years count for anything toward retirement?

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Law enforcement job, other jobs and retirement at 50

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Q. I am an 1811 criminal investigator with 21 years of covered law enforcement service. I am 48. Have I locked in my law enforcement retirement such that I can pursue another noncovered federal job while maintaining the option to retire when I turn 50?

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Leaving law enforcement, staying fed

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Q: I’m in a 6C law enforcement covered position and will be reaching 20 years of service in that same position this coming January. I will be 46 years old. As soon as I reach 20 years, can I transfer out of the LE series to an administrative job (no 6C coverage) and still have my complete enhanced retirement benefits when I decide to retire 10 years from now?

A: Yes, you can.

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Law enforcement re-employment

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Q: I retired from federal service in 2006 under the law enforcement retirement provision. I have since been re-employed by the government with a waiver for a temporary law enforcement position that allows me to receive both my annuity and the full salary of my new job. I have been informed that when my temporary position ends, the Office of Personnel Management will recalculate my retirement. Are there are any special provisions that would apply to my situation due to being re-employed with a waiver? Because I have not been contributing to retirement in my temporary position, would the recalculation just involve additional years of service?

A: You’ll need to find out which appointment authority was used to hire you, because with rare exception, anyone who receives a waiver that allows him to keep his salary and the full salary of his position isn’t entitled to any additional retirement credit for the time he is re-employed. If your authority does allow you to get credit for that time, you’d have to work one year to be entitled to a supplemental annuity and at least five years to have your annuity recomputed. In either case, you’d have to make a deposit to the retirement system to get that credit.

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Credit toward law enforcement retirement

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Q: I will have been in federal law enforcement for 25 years as of April 2011. I will be 46 years old at that point. In my first 15 years of service, I was in a covered law enforcement position. The next two years, I was in a law enforcement position that was not covered. In last seven years, I again have been in a covered position. Will I be eligible to retire in 2011 at the age of 46, or do I have to add the two years I was in the uncovered position onto the 25 years?

A: Any period of service when you weren’t in a covered position won’t count when determining your eligibility to retire under the special provision for law enforcement officers. You need to have 20 years of covered service to retire at age 50 or 25 years of covered service to retire at any age.

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Leaving law enforcement, staying in government

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Q: If I was in a law enforcement-covered position for eight years, then took a noncovered position for seven years, then moved back to a covered position, what time would count toward the LEO-covered retirement? I was told that as long as you had served three years in a covered position, you were vested and your service would continue in the special-category retirement as long as you had no break in federal service.

A: As long as you are in a primary law enforcement position for the requisite period of time and have a total 20 years of covered service, you will be eligible for retirement under the special provision. Those years don’t have to be consecutive to qualify you for that benefit.

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