Eligibility Requirements for Each Type of Retirement Under FERS

by | Mar 23, 2017

Last Updated May 20, 2024

Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), there are four types of retirement; voluntary, early, deferred, and disability. Over the next few weeks, we will look at the eligibility requirements, annuity computation, and special provisions for each. This post will focus on the eligibility requirements for each one.


Eligibility is based on age and number of years of creditable service. Meeting one of the following sets of requirements may qualify you for an immediate voluntary retirement:

  • 62 years of age and 5 years of service.
  • 60 years of age and 20 years of service.
  • Minimum Retirement Age (MRA)*and 30 years of service.
  • MRA and 10 years of service. However, your annuity is reduced by 5 percent for each year you are under 62.

Air traffic controllers, law enforcement, firefighters, or military Reserve Technician personnel can retire under these special provisions:

  • Any age and 25 years of service.
  • 50 years of age and 20 years of service.

**These provisions also apply if The Office of Personnel Management determines your agency is undergoing a major reorganization, reduction-in-force (RIF), or a transfer of function.

*MRA Table

Year of Birth

MRA is…

Before 1948


55, 2 months


55, 4 months


55, 6 months


55, 8 months


55, 10 months



56, 2 months


56, 4 months


56, 6 months


56, 8 months

56, 10 months

After 1969




You may retire at your MRA if you have 10 or more years of service. This is called MRA+10. However, your annuity will see a reduction for each month you’re under the age of 62. This reduction is 5 percent per year (5/12 of a percent per month). Contrary, your annuity won’t be reduced if you have completed at least 30 years of service or if you have completed at least 20 years of service and your annuity begins when you reach age 60.

Another way you may be eligible to retire early is if your agency undergoes a major reorganization, RIF, or a transfer of function, and a significant percentage of employees will be separated or have reductions in pay.

Discontinued Service Retirement because of Involuntary Separation

If your agency makes you a reasonable offer and you choose to decline it and resign, you will not qualify for this type of early retirement. You also won’t qualify if you are separated by adverse action procedures for not complying with a directed reassignment to a position that is a reasonable offer.


If you are a former employee who was covered in a FERS position, you may be eligible for a deferred annuity at age 62 or MRA. You must meet one of the following age and service requirements:

  • Completed at least 5 years of creditable civilian service. You would be eligible for a deferred annuity beginning the first day of the month after you reach 62.
  • Completed at least 10 years of creditable civilian service including 5 years of civilian service eligible for a deferred annuity beginning the first day of the month after you reach MRA.

A deferred annuity is subject to the age reduction penalty.

Eligibility Requirements for Federal Disability Retirement

To be eligible for a federal disability retirement, you must meet all the following:

  • Complete at least 18 months of federal civilian service under FERS.
  • Must have become disabled because of injury or illness while employed in a FERS position.
  • The disability is expected to last at least one year.
  • Your agency must certify it is unable to accommodate you in our current position AND it has considered you for any vacant position in the same agency at the same grade/pay level, and within the same commuting area for which you are qualified for reassignment.
  • You must apply before you are separated from service or within one year.
  • You must apply for Social Security benefits.

Harris Federal Law Firm has helped thousands of federal workers with their disability cases and eligibility requirements. If you think you may qualify, please give us a call at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form. We would love to schedule a FREE consultation with you and discuss the specifics of your case.

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