U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jul 15, 2024

§ 842.201 - Purpose.

This subpart regulates the statutory provisions on eligibility for nondisability retirement under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

§ 842.202 - Definitions.

In this subpart—

Commuting area has the same meaning given that term in § 351.203 of this chapter.

Minimum retirement age means an age based on an individual's year of birth, as follows:

Year of Birth Minimum Retirement Age
Before 194855 years.
194855 years and 2 months.
194955 years and 4 months.
195055 years and 6 months.
195155 years and 8 months.
195255 years and 10 months.
1953-196456 years.
196556 years and 2 months.
196656 years and 4 months.
196756 years and 6 months.
196856 years and 8 months.
196956 years and 10 months.
1970 and after57 years.

§ 842.203 - General eligibility requirement.

An employee must have at least 5 years of civilian service creditable under FERS to be eligible for an annuity under this subpart, except as provided under part 846 of this chapter.

§ 842.204 - Immediate voluntary retirement—basic age and service requirements.

(a) An employee or Member who separates from service is entitled to an annuity—

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, after attaining the minimum retirement age and completing 10 years of service; or

(2) After becoming age 60 and completing 20 years of service; or

(3) After becoming age 62 and completing 5 years of service.

(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) or (c) of this section, an annuity payable under paragraph (a) of this section commences on the first day of the month following separation.

(2) An annuity payable under paragraph (a) of this section commences on the day after separation, if that separation occurs upon the expiration of a term (or other period) for which the individual was appointed or elected.

(c)(1) An employee or Member entitled to an annuity under paragraph (a)(1) of this section may elect to postpone the commencing date of that annuity, provided the individual—

(i) Has completed less than 30 years of service; and

(ii) Is not entitled to an immediate annuity under any other provision of this subpart. An immediate annuity means an annuity that will begin within 31 days of separation.

(2) A postponed commencing date may not precede the later of—

(i) The first day of the month after the date of separation of the employee or Member; or

(ii) The 31st day after the date of filing the election of a commencing date.

(3) A postponed commencing date must be no later than the second day before the employee's 62nd birthday.

(4) The election of a commencing date may be filed not more than 90 days before the commencing date elected by the employee or Member, and must be filed in a form prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

(5) A written election that is not in the prescribed form, but which designates a specific commencing date, and otherwise conforms to the time limits in paragraphs (c)(2) through (c)(4) of this section, will be accepted as an informal election subject to ratification in the prescribed form.

(6) The election of a commencing date becomes irrevocable on the date OPM authorizes the first annuity payment.

(d)(1) If an employee or Member separates from service after attaining the minimum retirement age and completing 10 years of service, but is reemployed before filing an application for retirement based on that separation, the individual may not elect an annuity commencing date that precedes separation from the reemployment service.

(2) In the case of an employee or Member who separates from service after attaining the minimum retirement age and completing 10 years of service, and is reemployed after filing an application for retirement based on that separation, that individual may not elect an annuity commencing date that precedes separation from the reemployment service if he or she is reemployed prior to a postponed commencing date elected under paragraph (c) of this section.

[51 FR 47197, Dec. 31, 1986, as amended at 56 FR 65418, Dec. 17, 1991]

§ 842.206 - Involuntary retirement.

(a) An employee, other than an employee entitled to an annuity under § 842.207 or § 842.208, who separates from the service involuntarily after completing 25 years of service, or after becoming age 50 and completing 20 years of service is entitled to an annuity, except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.

(b) An employee who is separated for cause on charges of misconduct or delinquency is not entitled to an annuity under paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) An employee who would otherwise be entitled to an annuity under paragraph (a) of this section is not so entitled if the employee has declined a reasonable offer of another position that meets all of the following conditions:

(1) The offer must be made in writing;

(2) The employee must meet established qualification requirements; and

(3) The offered position must be—

(i) In the employee's agency, including an agency to which the employee would be transferred in a transfer of function(s) between agencies;

(ii) Within the employee's commuting area unless geographic mobility is a condition of the employee's employment;

(iii) Of the same tenure and work schedule; and

(iv) Not lower than the equivalent of two grades or pay levels below the employee's current grade or pay level, without consideration of the employee's eligibility to retain his or her current grade or pay under part 536 of this chapter or other authority. In movements between pay schedules or pay systems, the comparison rate of the grade or pay level that is two grades below that of the current position will be compared with the comparison rate of the grade or pay level of the offered position. For this purpose, “comparison rate” has the meaning given that term in § 536.103 of this chapter, except paragraph (2) of that definition should be used for the purpose of comparing grades or levels of work in making reasonable offer determinations in all situations not covered by paragraph (1) of that definition.

(d) An annuity payable under paragraph (a) of this section commences on the day after separation from the service.

[52 FR 4473, Feb. 11, 1987, as amended at 70 FR 31315, May 31, 2005; 73 FR 66157, Nov. 7, 2008]

§ 842.207 - Air traffic controllers.

(a) An employee who separates from service, except by removal for cause or charges of delinquency or misconduct, is entitled to an annuity—

(1) After completing 25 years of service as an air traffic controller; or

(2) After becoming age 50 and completing 20 years of service as an air traffic controller.

(b) An annuity payable under paragraph (a) of this section commences on the first day of the month following separation.

§ 842.208 - Firefighters, customs and border protection officers, law enforcement officers, members of the Capitol or Supreme Court Police, and nuclear materials couriers.

(a) An employee who separates from service, except by removal for cause on charges of delinquency or misconduct, is entitled to an annuity—

(1) After completing any combination of service as a firefighter, customs and border protection officer, law enforcement officer, member of the Capitol or Supreme Court Police, or nuclear materials courier totaling 25 years; or

(2) After becoming age 50 and completing any combination of service as a firefighter, customs and border protection officer, law enforcement officer, member of the Capitol or Supreme Court Police, or nuclear materials courier totaling 20 years.

(b) An annuity payable under paragraph (a) of this section commences on the first day of the month following separation.

[52 FR 4473, Feb. 11, 1987, as amended at 65 FR 2524, Jan. 18, 2000; 76 FR 42000, July 18, 2011]

§ 842.209 - Members of Congress.

(a) A Member, except one separated by resignation or expulsion, is entitled to an annuity—

(1) After completing 25 years of service; or

(2) After becoming age 50 and completing 20 years of service.

(b) An annuity payable under paragraph (a) of this section commences on the day after separation from the service.

§ 842.210 - Military reserve technicians.

(a) A military reserve technician as defined in 5 U.S.C. 8401(30) who is separated from civilian service because of ceasing to qualify as a member of a military reserve component after reaching age 50 and completing 25 years of service is entitled to an annuity.

(b) An annuity payable under paragraph (a) of this section commences on the day after separation.

§ 842.211 - Senior Executive Service, Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service, and Senior Cryptologic Executive Service.

(a) A member of the Senior Executive Service, the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service, or the Senior Cryptologic Senior Executive Service who is removed or who resigns after receipt of written notice of proposed removal for less than fully successful executive performance, or for failure to be recertified as a senior executive, is entitled to an annuity—

(1) After completing 25 years of service; or

(2) After becoming age 50 and completing 20 years of service.

(b) Removed for less than fully successful executive performance means (1) with respect to a member of the Senior Executive Service, removal in accordance with procedures in subpart E of part 359 of this chapter; and (2) with respect to a member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service or the Senior Cryptologic Executive Service, a certification by the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency or National Security Agency (or their designees) that the employee has been removed for less than fully successful executive performance.

(c) Removed for failure to be recertified as a senior executive means (1) With respect to a member of the Senior Executive Service, removal in accordance with the procedures in subpart C of part 359 of this chapter, and (2) with respect to a member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service or the Senior Cryptologic Executive Service, a certification by the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency or National Security Agency (or their designees) that the employee has been removed for failure to be recertified under 10 U.S.C. 1601(a) or section 12(a)(1) of the National Security Agency Act, respectively.

(d) An annuity payable under paragraph (a) of this section commences on the day after separation from service.

[52 FR 4473, Feb. 11, 1987, as amended at 56 FR 173, Jan. 3, 1991]

§ 842.212 - Deferred retirement.

(a) An employee or Member who, after completing 5 years of service, separates from service or transfers to a position not covered by FERS is entitled to a deferred annuity beginning on the first day of the month after the individual attains age 62.

(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (b)(3) and (c) of this section, an employee or Member who has not attained the minimum retirement age, and who, after completing 10 years of service, is separated or transferred to a position in which the individual is no longer covered by FERS, is entitled to a deferred annuity commencing—

(i) The first day of the month following the date on which the individual attains the minimum retirement age or, if later,

(ii) A date the individual designates that follows the date on which the designation is filed.

(2) The election of a commencing date may be filed no more than 90 days before that commencing date, and must be elected in a form prescribed by OPM. A written election that is not in the prescribed form, but which designates a specific commencing date, will be accepted for as an informal election, subject to ratification in the prescribed form.

(3) An employee or Member is not entitled to a deferred annuity under paragraph (b)(1) of this section if the individual is eligible for an annuity under §§ 842.205 through 842.211 or will, within 31 days after filing the election of a commencing date, attain age 62.

(4) The election of a commencing date becomes irrevocable on the date OPM authorizes the first annuity payment.

(c)(1) If an employee or Member separates from service after completing 10 years of service but before attaining the minimum retirement age, and is reemployed before filing an application for retirement based on that separation, that individual may not elect an annuity commencing date that precedes separation from the reemployment service.

(2) In the case of an employee or Member who separates from service after completing 10 years of service but before attaining the minimum retirement age, and is reemployed after filing an application for retirement based on that separation, that individual may not elect an annuity commencing date that precedes separation from the reemployment service if he or she is reemployed prior to a postponed commencing date elected under paragraph (b).

[51 FR 47197, Dec. 31, 1986, as amended at 56 FR 65418, Dec. 17, 1991]

§ 842.213 - Voluntary early retirement-substantial delayering, reorganization, reduction in force, transfer of function, or other workforce restructuring.

(a) A specific designee is defined as a senior official within an agency who has been specifically designated to sign requests for voluntary early retirement authority under a designation from the head of the agency. Examples include a Chief Human Capital Officer, an Assistant Secretary for Administration, a Director of Human Resources Management, or other official.

(b) An agency's request for voluntary early retirement authority must be signed by the head of the agency or by a specific designee.

(c) The request must contain the following information:

(1) Identification of the agency or specified component(s) for which the authority is being requested;

(2) Reasons why the agency needs voluntary early retirement authority. This must include a detailed summary of the agency's personnel and/or budgetary situation that will result in an excess of personnel because of a substantial delayering, reorganization, reduction in force, transfer of function, or other workforce restructuring or reshaping, consistent with agency human capital goals;

(3) The date on which the agency expects to effect the substantial delayering, reorganization, reduction in force, transfer of function, or other workforce restructuring or reshaping;

(4) The time period during which the agency plans to offer voluntary early retirement;

(5) The total number of non-temporary employees in the agency (or specified component(s));

(6) The total number of non-temporary employees in the agency (or specified component(s)) who may be involuntarily separated, downgraded, transferred, or reassigned as a result of the substantial delayering, reorganization, reduction in force, transfer of function, or other workforce restructuring or reshaping;

(7) The total number of employees in the agency (or specified component(s)) who are eligible for voluntary early retirement;

(8) An estimate of the total number of employees in the agency (or specified component(s)) who are expected to retire early during the period covered by the request for voluntary early retirement authority; and

(9) A description of the types of personnel actions anticipated as a result of the agency's need for voluntary early retirement authority. Examples include separations, transfers, reassignments, and downgradings.

(d) OPM will evaluate a request for voluntary early retirement based on:

(1) A specific request to OPM from the agency for voluntary early retirement authority;

(2) A voluntary separation incentive payment implementation plan, as discussed in part 576, subpart A, of this chapter, which must outline the intended use of the incentive payments and voluntary early retirement; or

(3) The agency's human capital plan, which must outline its intended use of voluntary separation incentive payments and voluntary early retirement authority, and the changes in organizational structure it expects to make as the result of projected separations and early retirements.

(e) Regardless of the method used, the request must include all of the information required by paragraph (c) of this section.

(f) OPM may approve an agency's request for voluntary early retirement authority to cover the entire period of the substantial delayering, reorganization, reduction in force, transfer of function, or other workforce restructuring or reshaping described by the agency, or the initial portion of that period with a requirement for subsequent information and justification if the period covers multiple years.

(g) After OPM approves an agency's request, the agency must immediately notify OPM of any subsequent changes in the conditions that served as the basis for the approval of the voluntary early retirement authority. Depending upon the circumstances involved, OPM will modify the authority as necessary to better suit the agency's needs.

(h) The agency may further limit voluntary early retirement offers based on:

(1) An established opening and closing date for the acceptance of applications that is announced to employees at the time of the offer; or

(2) The acceptance of a specified number of applications for voluntary early retirement, provided that, at the time of the offer, the agency notified employees that it retained the right to limit the number of voluntary early retirements.

(i) Within the timeframe specified for its approved voluntary early retirement authority, the agency may subsequently establish a new or revised closing date, or reduce or increase the number of early retirement applications it will accept, if management's downsizing and/or reshaping needs change. If the agency issues a revised closing date, or a revised number of applications to be accepted, the new date or number of applications must be announced to the same group of employees included in the original announcement. If the agency issues a new window period with a new closing date, or a new instance of a specific number of applications to be accepted, the new window period or number of applications to be accepted may be announced to a different group of employees as long as they are covered by the approved voluntary early retirement authority.

(j) Chapter 43 of title 38, United States Code, requires that agencies treat employees on military duty, for all practical purposes, as though they were still on the job. Further, employees are not to be disadvantaged because of their military service. In accordance with these provisions, employees on military duty who would otherwise be eligible for an offer of voluntary early retirement will have 30 days following their return to duty to either accept or reject an offer of voluntary early retirement. This will be true even if the voluntary early retirement authority provided by OPM has expired.

(k) An employee who separates from the service voluntarily after completing 25 years of service, or becoming age 50 and completing 20 years of service, is entitled to an annuity if, on the date of separation, the employee:

(1) Is serving in a position covered by a voluntary early retirement offer; and

(2) Meets the following conditions which are covered in 5 U.S.C. 8414(b)(1)(B):

(i) Has been employed continuously, by the agency in which the employee is serving, for at least the 31-day period ending on the date on which such agency requests the determination referred to in section 842.213(b);

(ii) Is serving under an appointment that is not time limited;

(iii) Has not been duly notified that such employee is to be involuntarily separated for misconduct or unacceptable performance;

(iv) Is separated from the service voluntarily during a period in which, as determined by the Office of Personnel Management (upon request of the agency) under regulations prescribed by the Office:

(A) Such agency (or, if applicable, the component in which the employee is serving) is undergoing substantial delayering, substantial reorganization, substantial reductions in force, substantial transfer of function, or other substantial workforce restructuring (or shaping);

(B) A significant percentage of employees serving in such agency (or component) are likely to be separated or subject to an immediate reduction in the rate of basic pay (without regard to subchapter VI of chapter 53, or comparable provisions); or

(C) Identified as being in positions which are becoming surplus or excess to the agency's future ability to carry out its mission effectively; and

(v) As determined by the agency under regulations prescribed by the Office, is within the scope of the offer of voluntary early retirement, which may be made based on the following criteria:

(A) 1 or more organizational units;

(B) 1 or more occupational series or levels;

(C) 1 or more geographical locations;

(D) Specific periods;

(E) Skills, knowledge, or other factors related to a position; or

(F) Any appropriate combination of such factors.

(l) Agencies are responsible for ensuring that employees are not coerced into voluntary early retirement. If an agency finds any instances of coercion, it must take appropriate corrective action.

(m) Except as provided in paragraph (j) of this section, an agency may not offer or process voluntary early retirements beyond the stated expiration date of a voluntary early retirement authority or offer early retirements to employees who are not within the scope of the voluntary early retirement authority approved by OPM.

(n) OPM may terminate a voluntary early retirement authority if it determines that the condition(s) that formed the basis for the approval of the authority no longer exist.

(o) OPM may amend, limit, or terminate a voluntary early retirement authority to ensure that the requirements of this subpart are properly being followed.

[69 FR 33279, June 15, 2004, as amended at 69 FR 50265, Aug. 16, 2004; 80 FR 75786, Dec. 4, 2015]