FEDweek

When Can You Retire?

No, this isn’t going to be a run down on all the age and service combinations needed to retire under CSRS or FERS. I just want to focus on one aspect – the actual date on which you are first eligible to retire. To quote from a Retirement Counselor Letter I issued while serving as OPM’s Assistant Director of Retirement and Insurance Policy:

The belief that an employee who met the service requirement for immediate retirement must not be separated before the date of his or her birthday is incorrect. In fact, a person legally attains a given age on the day before his birthday.

That fact is especially significant if your birthday falls on a day that would affect when your annuity begins. For example, if you were a CSRS employee whose birthday falls on the 4th day of the month, you’d be able to retire on the 3rd day and begin accruing an annuity on the 4th. Similarly, if you were a FERS employee whose birthday fell on the 1st on the month, you could retire on the last day of the preceding month and, like your CSRS colleagues, begin accruing an annuity on the following day.

This may seem like a small thing to mention, but years after I issued that Retirement Counselor Letter, some personnel offices are still getting it wrong. So if you are a CSRS employee whose birthday falls on the 4th of the month or a FERS employee whose birthday falls on the 1st, you may want to print this article out and keep it with you when you submit your retirement papers.