The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times readers about retirement and other issues facing the federal workforce. It is answered by Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and a Federal Times columnist since 1995.

Question: I‘m a regular category employee. My entry-on-duty date is 9/25/2011 at the age of 37. Can I retire at 57 or do I need to wait until 62 – or even later?

Reg’s Response: Yes, you could retire at age 57 under the MRA+10 provision (minimum retirement age with at least 10 years of service). However, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year (5/12ths of 1 percent per month) that you were under age 62.

To reduce that impact, you could retire and defer the receipt of your annuity to a later date. Or you could simply stay on the job and retire when the reduction would be smaller.

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Reg Jones is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.

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