Dates Matter – Age and Years of Service

Our lives revolve around dates. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, holidays, when we get paid, when bills are due, and so on. This time I want to talk about the date on which you will first be eligible to retire, at least as far as age is concerned, and the date on which you have enough service to do that.

If you are a CSRS employee, your combinations of age and service needed to retire on an immediate, unreduced annuity are:

62 years with 5 years of service;

60 with 20; and

55 with 30

For FERS employees, the combinations are:

62 years with 5 years of service;

60 with 20; and

At your MRA with 30.

(Your MRA is your minimum retirement age, which ranges between 55 and 57 depending on your year of birth.)

As a FERS employee, you also have the option of retiring at your MRA with at least 10 years of service; however, if you do, your annuity will be reduced by 5 percent for every year (5/12 of 1 percent per month) that you are less than 62 years old. You can reduce or eliminate that age penalty by postponing the receipt of your annuity to a later date.

Note: Early retirement opportunities are also available to both CSRS and FERS employees when your agency is undergoing substantial restructuring, reshaping, downsizing, transfer of function or reorganization. It can offer you an opportunity to retire under the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA), if you meet one these two combinations of age and service: 50 years old with 20 years of service or at any age with 25.

FYI. A day can make a difference. Whether you are waiting for the exact moment when you are old enough to retire or when you have the precise number of years to do that, there’s one interesting fact you need to know. Your eligibility to retire falls on the day before your birthday and the years of service needed to retire end on the day before the date on which you first entered on duty.