As a federal employee, you already know that your retirement system is one of the best in the nation. You can potentially enjoy three forms of income in retirement, which is relatively rare in the private sector. But in addition to your income options, federal employees can also access four different types of retirement, with regard to timing.
Immediate retirement. This option falls in line with how most people view retirement. You set a date, and begin drawing retirement benefits after you stop working. Those benefits are calculated based upon the number of years you worked, and your Minimum Retirement Age (based on your year of birth).
Early retirement. At times, the federal government offers the early retirement option, because they need to reorganize or reduce the size of certain departments. Employees in those departments might be offered the option of transferring to another federal employment position, or the option of early retirement. Occasionally this option is available for involuntary separation cases as well.
Deferred retirement. Some workers might be able to leave their jobs before meeting the requirements for immediate retirement benefits. If you’re age 62 and have accumulated at least five years of service, you could opt for a deferred retirement. Or, if you reach your Minimum Retirement Age with between 10 and 30 years of service under your belt, you could receive your benefits (with some reductions).
Disability. Occasionally, disability strikes at a younger age. If this happens to you, and you become unable to continue in your current position, your agency should investigate whether they can accommodate you in another position at the same pay and grade level. If they can’t, you might be eligible to retire on a disability option and claim your FERS benefits.
The rules regarding these retirement options can be complicated, and you shouldn’t assume that a particular program will be available to you at any given time. Planning with the guidance of a professional is still essential. If you have any questions about federal employee retirement options, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.