I’m xx Age; Can I Retire Yet?

September 23, 2020 2:34 PM , Updated October 2, 2020 7:23 AM
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Illustration showing a 'career highway' under FERS

WHEN | Are we there yet?

Exiting from the Career Highway into retirement is an exciting adventure, but you must be careful to follow all the rules for an immediate retirement under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

There are two eligibility requirements you must meet to receive a lifetime monthly payment from FERS:

  • The right number of birthdays (age)
  • The right amount of time (years of creditable service)

The age requirement is easy to understand, but the creditable service has a few more twists and turns to it.

WHAT | This vs. that

Let’s start by defining two Office of Personnel Management (OPM) terms that can be confusing:  eligibility vs computation.

Step 1. Eligibility—first, only two types of creditable service are added together to meet this requirement: 

  • Federal covered service, that is, service in which the individual’s pay is subject to FERS retirement deductions
  • Military service with deposit

Step 2. Computation—next, all three types of creditable service are added together to calculate the FERS pension:

  • Federal covered service, that is, service in which the individual’s pay is subject to FERS retirement deductions
  • Unused Sick Leave
  • Military service with deposit

HOW MUCH | Age + Creditable Service for Eligibility

The eligibility requirements are dependent upon age at retirement—the younger you are, the more years of creditable service you’ll need to get a full FERS pension:

  • Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) + 30 Years of Creditable Service
    You also receive the FERS supplement, a separate payment, until you reach your 62nd birthday  (See MRA chart below) 
  • Age 60 + 20 Years of Creditable Service
    You also receive the FERS supplement, a separate payment, until you reach your 62nd birthday
  • Age 62 + 5 Years of Creditable Service

There is one more retirement eligibility option, but it is for a reduced FERS pension:

  • Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) + 10 Years of Creditable Service
    FERS pension is permanently reduced by 5% for every year you retire under age 62
If you were bornYour MRA is
Before 194855
In 194855 and 2 months
In 194955 and 4 months
In 195055 and 6 months
In 195155 and 8 months
In 195255 and 10 months
In 1953-196456
In 196556 and 2 months
In 196656 and 4 months
In 196756 and 6 months
In 196856 and 8 mo
In 196956 and 10 mont
In 1970 and after57

WHAT ABOUT | FERS Special Provisions

Public Safety Officers who retire under FERS Special Provisions have a different set of eligibility requirements and a mandatory retirement age.

  • Age 50 + 20 Years of Covered Service

You also receive the FERS supplement, a separate payment, until you reach your 62nd birthday

  • Any Age + 25 Years of Covered Service

You also receive the FERS supplement, a separate payment, until you reach your 62nd birthday

  • Mandatory Retirement Age

Law Enforcement Officer—Age 57

Air Traffic Controller—Age 56

Firefighter—Age 57 

WHAT ELSE | Make Sure of This

Your creditable service will be tabulated with information from your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) and recorded on the FERS Immediate Retirement Application. It’s imperative that you know ahead of time if your personnel records are complete, accurate and up to date, otherwise the information that OPM uses to calculate your FERS benefits may be wrong.

© 2020 Kelly Monroe. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Kelly Monroe.

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About the Author

Kelly L. Monroe is the creator of the FERS Blueprint Retirement Training System. She a retirement benefits trainer and has consulted with over 2,300 Federal employees to help them clarify their retirement planning. Be sure to get your free benefit guide, The 7 Superheroes of FERS Retirement Benefits, to use as a handy one-page reference guide for retirement planning.

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