Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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Your pension benefits are protected by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), so they won't be lost when you're terminated. The law generally requires that your benefits be paid out when you retire.
Discontinued Service Retirement Because of an Involuntary Separation
The term “involuntary separation” means any separation against the will and without the consent of the employee, other than “for cause” for misconduct or delinquency. The most common cause of an involuntary separation is a reduction in force. Another frequent cause for an involuntary separation is when the location of an office or unit is moved to an area outside the commuting area of the old worksite*. Employees who decline reasonable offers of other positions are not eligible for discontinued service annuities.
*Exception: If, when you accepted your current position, you were placed under a general mobility agreement whereby you would be subject to geographic reassignment, you would not be eligible for discontinued service annuity rights if your position is moved to an area outside the commuting area.
If your agency- makes you a reasonable offer and you choose to decline the offer and resign, you will not qualify for discontinued service retirement, or separates you by adverse action procedures for not complying with a directed reassignment to a position that is a “reasonable offer”
your separation would not be qualifying for discontinued service.
Reasonable Offer Written offer of another position in your agency and commuting area for which you are qualified, and Which is no more than two grades or pay levels below your current grade or pay level.
Commuting Area Geographic area that usually constitutes one area for employment purposes. It includes any population center (or two or more neighboring ones) and the surrounding localities in which people live and reasonably can be expected to travel back and forth daily in their usual employment.
Eligibility Requirements for Early Optional Retirement and Discontinued Service Retirement Because of an Involuntary SeparationAge Years of Service Needed (At least 5 years must be civilian service)50 20Any 25
As per the Federal pension rules, you would be entitled to your pension, and can even apply for an early payout if you qualify.
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