Reg Jones Expert's View

Hear ye! Hear ye! Eligible employees can begin filing applications for phased retirement beginning on November 6. Having gotten your attention, I expect you want to know what phased retirement is, what its purpose is, and who is eligible to participate. So here goes.

What is phased retirement?

It’s an opportunity for eligible employees to transition into retirement by continuing to work part-time while receiving a portion of their annuity at the same time, without offset.

What is its purpose?

The main purpose of phased retirement is to mentor and train employees who will be filling the positions or taking on the duties of more experienced employees who are retiring. It’s designed to assist agencies with knowledge management and continuity of operations by allowing certain employees who already meet the age and service requirements to retire to volunteer to work part-time and receive a portion of their annuity when they aren’t working. Entry into the program is entirely voluntary and requires that both the employee and the agency agree on the terms of the arrangement.

Who is eligible to participate?

Most CSRS or FERS employees who have been employed full-time for not less than three years before they enter into phased retirement and meet the following criteria:

* If you are a CSRS employee, you must be at least 55 years old and have at least 30 years of service or be at least 60 years old and have at least 20 years of service.

* If you are a FERS employee, you must have reached your minimum retirement age (MRA), which ranges between 55 and 57 depending on your year of birth, and have at least 30 years of service or be at least 60 years old and have at least 20 years of service.

Who isn’t eligible to participate?

* Law enforcement officers

* Firefighters

* Air traffic controllers

* Nuclear materials couriers

* Members of the Capitol Police

* Members of the Supreme Court Police

* Most customs and border protection officers

* Employees covered by a special work schedule authority that doesn’t allow for a regularly recurring part-time schedule, such as firefighters covered by 5 U.S.C. 5545b or nurses covered by 38 U.S.C. 7456 or 7456A.

Next time I’ll explain what you have to do if you want to participate in phased retirement and how it actually works.