In recent times, it’s fair to say the federal workforce has been experiencing some changes. With both sizes and scope adjusting, many employees have been offered incentives to retire early. Not only have agencies been forced to reorganize, but some have also needed to restructure and even downsize their operation. As a result of the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA), those agencies experiencing these changes may offer employees the opportunity to retire early.
When times call for large organizational changes, VERA was initially set up so that agencies could meet new demands without large disruptions to the workforce and the tasks they complete. As well as helping agencies, VERA also helps certain federal workers, years before normally eligible, to receive annuity payments.
If you’re wondering about the difference in the provisions under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), they’re exactly the same, so there’s no need to worry here.
Early Retirement Requirements
Are you eligible for early retirement under VERA? Are your colleagues or other employees of the agency eligible? There are some requirements under the regulations, and we’ve listed them below;
-Before the agency requested the approval of VERA from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), you must have been in continuous employment at the agency for 31 days.
-The US Code for CSRS and FERS employees also has VERA minimum age/service requirements that apply in this very situation. For example, anybody who has 25 years of creditable service under their belt will automatically qualify. For anyone with between 20 and 25 years of creditable service, they’ll need to be at least 50 years old.
-For either poor performance or misconduct, you mustn’t have received a final removal decision.
-Your position at the agency must be a permanent one, rather than a time-limited one.
-Your position should also be covered by the VERA authority.
If you pass all these requirements and you want to take an early retirement, you will be eligible to do so during the agency’s VERA acceptance period.
Before making any decisions, we highly recommend contacting an attorney. If you’re eligible for a VERA offer, make sure you understand all the implications of accepting and a lawyer and finance professional will both help you to do this.
When looking for an attorney, remember to look for experience. The more experience they have in dealing with people in your position, the better placed you’ll be to not only make the right decision but to handle the process in the right way!