Phased Retirement

OPM's New Phased Retirement Does NOT Apply to the Foreign Service

Because of the recent media coverage of the new phased retirement program, we want to clarify for our members that the Foreign Service is not eligible to apply because of the mandatory retirement rule. Also, the State Department, after consultation with the other foreign affairs agencies, informed AFSA that the new “phased retirement” program will not apply to Foreign Service members. The reasons for why they believe that it does not make sense to offer this program are:

  1. Congress excluded from participation in phased retirement almost all Civil Service employees who face mandatory retirement (for example, law enforcement officers) but failed to mention the Foreign Service even though they face mandatory retirement too.
  2. Given the high cost of stationing employees abroad, it would not be cost effective to send a 20 hour-per-week phased retirement participant overseas.
  3. Among the Foreign Service members who serve domestically, few could qualify for phased retirement since participation could not extend past the employee’s mandatory retirement date (time in class, time in service, or age 65). In addition no FSPS employee under the age of 62 would likely participate since they would then lose their annuity supplement.
  4. Given the low number of potential Foreign Service members who could participate the administrative burden of offering the program would far outweigh any potential benefit.
  5. Lastly, they see the WAE program a much more flexible and value added program for post-retirement employment then phased retirement since it is already in existence.

Please feel free to reach out and email retiree@afsa.org should you have any questions or comments.