It’s possible for a federal employee to retire before the age of 65, and many employees choose to retire young. However, the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) has a minimum age required to be eligible for retirement. This age will vary depending on the year of their birth and how long they have been in service.
Those who were born in 1963 or 1964 can retire at the age of 56. For workers who were born before 1948, it’s 55. If a worker was born after 1964, the minimum retirement age increases by two months for each year through 1970. For eligible federal employees born in 1970 or later, the minimum retirement age is 57.
How to Calculate Federal Retirement Eligibility
Many systems make use of the “Rule of 80” when determining a worker’s eligibility for retirement. Under this rule, the employee can retire when their age and years of federal service add up to 80 years.
For example, a federal employee born after 1970 starts working for federal service at the age of 24. After 28 years of working, they will reach the age of 52. Adding up 28 and 52 will satisfy the rule of 80.
The employee could retire should the Rule of 80 be followed. However, the employee hasn’t reached the minimum retirement age of 57 set by the FERS. The employee will have to wait for five more years to be eligible for retirement. This is to increase the number of contributing employees and reduce the number of workers drawing from the system.
Some workers already retire at the age of 57, but many also choose to retire at a later age to get the most of their retirement benefits.
Who Is Eligible for Immediate Retirement Benefits?
Immediate retirement benefits are ones that you can receive within 30 days from your last date of employment. You will only be eligible for these benefits if you meet certain sets of age and service requirements.
If you are 62 years of age, you must have at least five years of service. If you are aged 60 years old, you must have completed 20 years of federal service to become eligible for immediate retirement benefits.
Employees who are at the minimum retirement age can receive these benefits after 10 to 30 years of service, but the benefits will be deducted by 5% for each year they are under the age of 62. The benefits will not be reduced if the employee retires at the age of 60 or older and completed 20 years of service.
Who Is Eligible for Early Retirement and Disability Retirement Benefits?
In case of involuntary separations or voluntary separations during a time of major reorganizations and reductions in the workforce, you may be entitled to early retirement benefits. If you are 50 years of age or above, you will need a minimum of 20 years of service. If you are below the age of 50, you’ll need 25 years of service to be eligible.
FERS also has regulations in case of disability. You may be entitled to disability retirement benefits if you are disabled because of a disease or injury and will be unable to work for at least one year. To be eligible, you must have completed at least 18 months of service.
FERS has a set of rules regarding early retirement and other special cases. The minimum retirement age depends on the year you were born and how long you have worked for federal service. Some choose to retire as early as 57, but some choose to maximize their working years to get the most of their retirement benefits. Regardless of what you want for your retirement, it’s best to plan ahead.
If you need assistance with federal employee retirement planning in the US, consult the help of My Federal Plan. We offer free consultations and planning regarding the retirement benefits of all US federal employees. Plan your retirement with professionals, and contact us today!