Expert's View

Image: Balefire/

A key step in the federal retirement process is to sit back and think about the all jobs you’ve had since you began working for the government. To find out if you’ve gotten credit for them, you’ll need to set up a meeting with one of your agency’s benefits counselors to review your Official Personnel Folder. (Yes, in some cases “folder” still means a pile of paper.)

Once you have your OPF in front of you, you’ll need to make sure that it includes complete documentation of all your federal employment. With that information in hand plus your date of birth, you can determine when you’ll be able to retire.


To receive an immediate, unreduced annuity, you must meet one of the following age and service combinations:

• 62 with 5 years of service,
• 60 with 20 years of service, or
• 55 with 30 years of service

• 62 with 5 years of service,
• 60 with 20 years of service, or
• your minimum retirement age (MRA)⁕ with 30 years of service
⁕ MRAs range from age 55 to 57, depending on your year of birth.

FERS employees may also retire at their MRA with as few as 10 years of service; however, their annuities would be reduced by 5 percent per year (5/12ths of 1 percent per month) that they are under age 62.

Regardless of the retirement system you are in, you’ll want to check on any designations of beneficiaries you may have filed, just to be sure that what you wanted to happen when you first made out the form is what you want to happen now.

You’ll also want to review your health benefits and life insurance coverage. This is important because you need to be enrolled in the FEHB and/or FEGLI programs for the five consecutive years before you retire (or from your first opportunity to enroll) to carry that coverage into retirement.

See also, Retirement Eligibility & FERS Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) at