Discontinued service retirement

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Thanks for all you do in answering these questions for us. Can you explain how a Title 32 technician that loses their federal job because they are separating from the military required position due to turning age 60, affects the FERS annuity supplement requirements. Is losing the military position due to turning 60 considered a voluntary or discontinued service FERS retirement?

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Asked on February 4, 2019 7:39 pm
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To retire voluntarily, you must be age 60 with 20 or more years of service and discontinued service retirement says you must be 50 with 20 or more years of service or any age with 25 years of service, so in either case you need to have the 20 years of service to collect a retirement which also pays the supplement. If you do not have the 20 years of creditable service, your option would be MRA+10, meaning you have reached your MRA and have at least 10 or more years of service. IF you take this retirement, it is age penalized 5% for every year you are under age 62 or you can postpone it until age 62 to avoid the age penalty. This retirement option does not include the supplement. How many years of service will you have at age 60?

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Answered on February 4, 2019 8:01 pm
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I think I asked the question poorly; I’ll try again. When a title 32 military technician turns age 60 and has to retire from the military because of age and looses their title 32 job, is this considered a discontinuance of service retirement under FERS?

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Answered on February 6, 2019 2:24 pm
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The answer to your question can be YES, however, being eligible to collect an annuity depends on how many years of creditable service the individual has when they lose their job and their age. There are numerous retirement options available to all federal employees and unique ones for Military Reserve Technicians. For anyone who loses their federal position for reasons other than misconduct or cause, they can retire if age 50 with 20 or more years of service or at any age with 25 or more years of service. Under this option, they may retire, at say age 50, however, the FERS Retiree Supplement does not kick in until their Minimum Retirement Age (MRA), which is between 56-57, depending on their year of birth. The unique retirement option for Military Reserve Technicians says if involuntary separated from technician service due to disability or any other reason by employing agency, MRTs are entitled to an immediate annuity after attaining age 50 and completing 25 years “federal” of service if first hired before February 10, 1996, OR If first hired on or after February 10, 1996, can retire at age 50 and completing 20 years of “military technician” service or at any age and completing 25 years of “military technician” service. With this unique retirement option, the FERS Retiree Supplement is paid immediately, they do not have to wait until their MRA. If a Military Reserve Technician does not meet the age and service requirements for either regular or MRT retirement options previously discussed and they have at least 10 or more years of creditable service but less than 20 and are age 60, they can retire under the MRA+10 option, which will be reduced by the age penalty and no supplement is paid on the MRA+10 retirement. Sorry for being so long winded but I am trying to cover all options without knowing all the details of your particular situation.

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Answered on February 6, 2019 4:21 pm
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Thanks for the explanation. Where in OPM regulations is the info on: Federal service if first hired before February 10, 1996, OR If first hired on or after February 10, 1996. Many questions about these dates and no one can seem to find where this is written/published.

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Answered on September 11, 2019 1:24 pm
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It is in 5 United States Code 8414 (c)(2) and here is the link to that information: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/5/8414

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Answered on September 11, 2019 10:23 pm
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As with most language in the US code, you have to know what it means. A follow on question: Where is the language that makes/considers bought-back prior military service to be qualified technician service as far as the years of service calculations for the FERS special annuity supplement? I’m told that bought-back military service only applies to the Feb 10 1996 and prior military technicians and not those military technicians hired after Feb 10th 1996 when calculating technician service for the annuity supplement. Is the difference the former are considered technicians (not dual status) and the later are military technicians (dual status)? Is there a difference between military technicians and military technicians (dual status) and is this written in the code?
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Answered on September 16, 2019 4:09 pm

First, as a military reserve technician, you service is dual status. You must retain your military position to retain your civilian position.

As for when can you retire under FERS and begin collecting a pension, the first issue is when were you first hired as a military technician with the federal government, on before or after 02/10/1996?

If you were hired prior to or on 02/10/1996, all time counts towards that 25-year service requirement to retire at age 50 and begin collecting an immediate annuity and supplement.

If hired after 02/10/1996, you must have 25 years as a technician, dual status, to retire at any age or with 20 years as a dual status technician to retire at age 50 and begin collecting an immediate annuity and supplement.

The before and after 02/10/1996 will determine whether it is any federal service or specifically dual status technician time.

Now you have brought up the question of the FERS Retiree Annuity Supplement. That is a totally different benefit and has a totally different set of rules. If you retire under the special provisions of a military reserve technician, you are eligible to collect your FERS Retiree Supplement in addition to your FERS annuity immediately at retirement. The supplement only uses full calendar years of FERS civilian service in calculation. So, any military service served prior to becoming a federal civilian employee does not count in the calculation of the supplement, even if the deposit is satisfied. That active military service would only count towards your FERS annuity. If, however, your active service interrupted your civilian service AND a military service deposit is satisfied, those periods of activation also count as civilian service and will also be used in the computation of the FERS Retiree Supplement. You can find your written answers in Chapter 46, page 55 and Chapter 51 of the CSRS FERS Handbook. Here is that link: https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/csrsfers-handbook/

If you do not retire as a Military Reserve Technician and just retire as any other FERS retiree, the supplement may or may not be available and if available it may or may not be paid immediately at the time the FERS annuity commences.

( at September 16, 2019 7:27 pm)
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One more question for my understanding: It doesn’t matter when you hired on – any prior military service (bought back or not - discontinued service retirement or not) before one became a technician, doesn’t count towards years of service for the annuity supplement?
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Answered on September 17, 2019 5:33 pm
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No matter what retirement option you retire under, if that retirement option is one that includes the FERS Retiree Annuity Supplement, the service used to calculate the supplement is civilian service under FERS. Since active military service was performed prior to civilian service, it does not meet the definition of creditable civilian service that can be used in the computation of the supplement. Only military service that interrupts civilian service and the deposit for that period of activation has been satisfied will that period of service count in the computation of the supplement.

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Answered on September 17, 2019 6:50 pm