Deferred Retirement for a Departing Federal Employee

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By on February 7, 2017 in Retirement with 0 Comments

Image of the words 'deferred retirement' written on a chalkboard

In a recent article about your federal benefits if you leave federal service before becoming eligible to retire, I devoted one small paragraph to an important fact.

If you leave your retirement contributions on deposit with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and had five or more years of creditable federal civilian service, you will be entitled to a deferred annuity (pension) at a later date.

This article is a brief description of what OPM calls “deferred retirement”.

Facts About Deferred Retirement

Let’s look at some of the facts about deferred retirement.

  • Under deferred retirement you are not allowed to enroll in Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB). Per OPM rules, only those who are entitled to an “immediate annuity” can take their FEHB into retirement.
  • The same applies to your Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI).
  • FERS deferred retirees are not eligible for the Retiree Annuity Supplement.
  • If a former employee dies before they are eligible to apply to OPM for a deferred annuity, their surviving spouse will be ineligible for a survivor annuity, and will only receive a refund of the deceased employee’s retirement contributions.

Deferred Retirement Differences Under FERS and CSRS

Eligibility criteria for deferred retirement differs between CSRS and FERS, with the FERS criteria being more flexible. The criteria are listed in the table below.

Retirement System Minimum Age Minimum Service Special Qualifications
  • 62
  • 60
  • MRA
  • MRA
  • 5
  • 20
  • 30
  • 10

FERS contributions must be left on deposit with OPM.

Age based reduction for under 62 (MRA+10)

CSRS 62 5 CSRS contributions must have been left on deposit with OPM.


Agencies can request to have John Grobe, or another of Federal Career Experts' qualified instructors, deliver a retirement or transition seminar to their employees. FCE instructors are not financial advisers and will not sell or recommend financial products to class participants. Agency Benefits Officers can contact John Grobe at [email protected] to discuss schedules and costs.

© 2017 John Grobe. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from John Grobe.


About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a consulting firm that specializes in federal retirement and career transition issues. He is also affiliated with TSP Safety Net. John retired from federal service after 25 years of progressively more responsible human resources positions. He is the author of Understanding the Federal Retirement Systems and Career Transition: A Guide for Federal Employees, both published by the Federal Management Institute. Federal Career Experts provides pre-retirement seminars for a wide variety of federal agencies.