Federal employees who leave federal service have the option to withdraw their retirement contributions or wait until retirement age to apply for a retirement annuity, typically at age 60 or 62 depending on years of service. This is called a deferred retirement.
If you had at least 5 years of federal civilian employment under either system, you have the right to collect a deferred federal annuity at age 62.
You can ask that your retirement contributions be returned to you in a
lump sum payment, or you can wait until you are
to apply for monthly retirement benefit payments. Receiving a refund of your
FERS retirement deductions will eliminate your rights to an annuity for the
period of service that the refund covers. However, you may redeposit the
refund with interest if you are later reemployed in the government. The
refunded FERS service cannot be used in computing annuity benefits unless
you pay the refunded amount back plus interest prior to retiring from
federal service. Refer to information about
Before submitting your forms to request a refund, review the section on FERS Deferred Annuities to understand what you are giving up by requesting a refund.
If you transferred to FERS and also have service under the CSRS retirement system - When you apply for a refund, OPM will refund all retirement deductions to your credit under both FERS and CSRS. You can pay back the amount of both the FERS and CSRS deductions, plus interest, if you are later reemployed in the federal government
If you are covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and you leave your government job before becoming eligible for retirement you have the following options:
If you receive a refund of your retirement contributions now, you will no longer be eligible to receive monthly payments when you reach retirement age, unless you are later reemployed subject to the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees Retirement System. Refer to information about CSRS retirement eligibility.
If you are leaving your Federal job and want a refund of your retirement contributions, complete the appropriate fillable form shown below:
If you have been separated for 30 days or less, submit your application to your servicing Human Resource office. If you have been separated more than 30 days, submit your application to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
If you return to Federal service and elect to make a redeposit, Interest will accrue annually from the date the refund was paid until the redeposit is paid in full.