For the first time in my 26 year career, I am facing a dismissal for misconduct from my agency. Rather than resigning without a job prospect in sight, I am trying to see if I can retire. I am 50 with 26 years of service in the FERS system. Is it possible to retire in response to a proposed removal, or do I have to be offered retirement through a buyout?
No, while there are special exceptions for federal employees who have spent their careers in particular types of positions, 5 U.S.C. § 8336(d)(2) generally requires federal employees to be at least 55 years old to immediately retire and be entitled to an annuity.
Under your circumstances, as you are at least 50 years old and have at least 25 years of federal service, and assuming that you have not spent your career in one of the position categories that receive special treatment under 5 U.S.C. § 8336, you would need to be given the opportunity to apply for voluntary early retirement, under 5 U.S.C. § 8336(d)(2), which is sometimes part of a “buyout” offer.
If voluntary early retirement is not an option, then it appears you will need to find a new federal position and satisfy one of the other retirement equations in order to receive an annuity benefit.
This response is written by James P. Garay Heelan, associate attorney of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.
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