The following is a question submitted by a reader to Federal Times columnist Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and the resident expert on federal employee retirement issues.

A Fed Times reader asks:

“I am a federal LEO with more than 20 years of service, but I am not yet 50.

Due to my family situation, I am very interested in retiring early, but I am worried about the downside. I don’t mind some downside, but I would like to know how severe the penalties are if I retire now. Am I eligible for deferred retirement?  If so, can you please let me know what to expect?”

Reg’s reponse:

If you leave now, you wouldn’t be retiring. You’d be resigning. And you wouldn’t be entitled to an annuity until you reach your minimum retirement age. MRAs range from 55 to 57, depending on your year of birth.

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Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service, is our resident expert on retirement and the federal government. From 1979 to '95, he served as an assistant director of the 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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