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Determining Eligibility for Government Retirement Pensions

The retirement age of a government employee is decided by the individual’s age and the number of years of service. Because of this significant benefit, many government employees do not search for employment outside the government sector. 

Here are ways to determine eligibility for government retirement: 

Eligibility Using the Rule of 80

Several retirement plans use the rule of 80. The employee becomes eligible to retire when their age and years of service reach 80. Individuals start working for a government agency when they are 27 years old and are suitable for retirement at 53 1/2 years old.

Return to Double-Dip 

This early retirement age provides the employee with a significant number of working years remaining, allowing them to pursue a second profession or return to public service. Double dipping occurs when an individual has retired and collects an annuity while simultaneously working and earning a salary in another firm. This is known as “double-dipping.”

In specific systems, persons may be able to retire even before they reach the age of 80, allowing them to avoid the rule of 80 altogether. Many systems enable workers to retire at the age of 65, regardless of how many years they have worked for the company. However, because of their short time in the system, they are only eligible for tiny annuities.

Some retirement schemes have expanded the guideline of 80 percent to 85 percent or even 90 percent. Current workers are often grandfathered into the previous regulations, but new employees must comply with the new criteria when this occurs. The result is an increase in the number of workers who contribute to the system and a decrease in the number of retirees who contribute.


Workers sometimes feel undercut, undervalued, and deceived when the rules of the retirement system shift without their knowledge. Existing workers will be more accepting of retirement system changes if they are grandfathered in. When it comes to retirement systems, grandfathering makes the sales pitch simple and adds administrative responsibilities.

Retirement systems must keep two or more sets of regulations, forms, assistance guides, and other documents of the same kind. The additional maintenance expenditures will continue in perpetuity until the last of the retirees who are subject to an old set of regulations passes away.

Eligibility Using the Rule of 90

Consider the following scenario: the 27-year-old employee from the previous example is a member of a retirement scheme that works on the rule of 90 rather than 80. Because of this one adjustment, this person will be eligible for retirement at the age of 58 1/2 with 31 1/2 years of service, bringing their total service to 31 1/2 years.

A person may lose an employee’s service credit if they switch retirement schemes. Transferring service credit from one retirement scheme to another is usually subject to strict requirements. According to the National Institute of Public Welfare, government personnel should check this option while looking for new employment.

When service credit does not transfer, workers may be given a choice to keep what they have in the old retirement system and start again in the new retirement system if this is the case. An employee can have two or more separate retirement dates depending on their work system. Then, the retirement dates are simply the dates on which an employee will be eligible to receive cash benefits.


The earlier we begin to prepare for retirement, the more satisfying it will be in the long run. Unfortunately, preparing for it may feel daunting, and it may wind up staying on the “to-do” list for a very long time. 

My Federal Plan provides free retirement planning services to all federal employees in the United States. To help our clients enjoy the rewarding retirement they deserve, My Federal Plan prioritizes using its years of experience in educating them on their federal pension and insurance benefits. Get in touch with us for a consultation.

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