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 am a federal law enforcement officer and have been covered under the FERS 6C retirement program for 21 years. I’m 47 years old. I am considering taking a job that is not covered under 6C (non-law enforcement) but it is still with the federal government.
My questions are:
1. If I don’t have any break in service, can I transfer to the new non-6C position and still retire at the age of 50?
2. If I can retire at 50, would my pension be based on my last high 3 years of 6C coverage or my last 3 years in the new job that is not 6C covered?
3. Would I still quality for the early Social Security Supplement if I retired at 50 under the non-covered position?
Reg’s Response: While you can transfer to a non-6c position, you couldn’t retire at age 50. You could only retire at your minimum retirement age, which is 57. You would first be eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62.
When you did retire, your annuity would be based on your highest three consecutive years of average salary, with 20 of those years being computed using the more generous law enforcement formula and the rest under the standard formula.
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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.