Q. I retired from the Air Force after 23 years and have been receiving retired pay since 1996. I’ve been working under FERS now since January 1999 and hope to retire at age 59 in 2014 under the MRA+10 provision. Someone recently told me I would have the option to somehow combine the two retirements into one. He stated that for some people it means more money and for some less, so it has to be weighted individually. Are you aware of any such option and are their any issues to be wary about?
A. You can get credit for your period of active duty military service by making a deposit to the civilian retirement system. In your case the deposit would be 3 percent of your military base pay (not including allowances and differentials), plus interest. At retirement you would also be required to waive your military retired pay. To see if making a deposit would be worth it to you, use the following formula to approximate what your FERS annuity would be with and without that active duty service: 0.01 x your highest three consecutive years of average basic pay x your years and full months of service.
To find out what you would have to pay to get credit for that time, complete a copy of Form RI 20-97, Estimated earnings During Military Service, and send it to your military finance center along with a copy of your DD Form 214, Report of Transfer or Discharge. When you hear back from the finance center, take that letter, a copy of your DD 214 and Standard Form 3108, Application to Make Service Credit Payment, to your local payroll office. They’ll figure out what you owe and arrange for the deposit to be made, if that’s what you decide to do. You can download copies of the RI 20-97 and SF 3108 at www.opm.gov, click on Forms.