Overseas service and annuity calculation


Q. I currently am a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) civilian stationed overseas; prior to moving under DIA I was an Army civilian, also serving in an overseas location. For FERS annuity calculation purposes it is my understanding that DIA civilians receive 1.7 years of annuity credit for each year served in an overseas duty location. If that’s correct, when I retire, presumably from DIA, will I receive the 1.7 year credit for just the time served with DIA or will I get the 1.7 DIA credit for all years served overseas both as an Army and DIA civilian?

A. I’m not aware of any provision of law that would require that an enhanced multiplier be used when computing the annuity of anyone who has been stationed overseas.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.


  1. Mark Sheddan on

    Why don’t other service civilians get credit for overseas duty? I spent nearly six years overseas and get no credit while CIA, DIA and NSA employees get 1.75% credit per year served. Thanks in advance.

    • The simple answer is that laws were passed giving them that benefit. However, the reason for that may lie in the fact that CIA, NSA and NSA are super secret organizations whose overseas employees are more like law enforcement officers and may face more peril than those of other organizations.

  2. yes, you are correct, DIA falls under the law that stipulates certain members of the intelligence community (CIA< DIA< NSA) are to receive 1.7 annuity year credit while serving as an intelligence officer overseas. I think it has to do with specialist skills and requirements- unique challenges for intelligence folks while overseas.

    If you are a computer tech, and taken by an adversarial party while overseas, you will most likely be returned to the U.S. pretty easily. If you are an intelligence officer and are taken by an adversarial party while overseas, perhaps not so easy to get back at times. Also, you have additional limitations attached to your job (no collective bargaining rights, often on emergency essential duty and so on).

    However, you need to ensure the folks calculate the annuity years correctly as a lot of HR folks do not know you are covered by the law for the 1.7 years-per.

    • Thanks for your input, especially for the reminder that special category employees need to be sure that 20 years of their covered service are calculated using the enhanced formula.

    • Can the .7 credit be used to reach your 20 years; e.g. if an individual had 19 years of service, 3 of which was overseas with a designated agency, would your SCD/adjusted annuity be 21.1?

  3. According to my applicable SF-50 from DIA, it’s “Section 303 or 505 of P.L. 101-93 OR Section 502 of P.L. 104.93.” Not exactly simple easy-to-understand language in either case. In my case, OPM apparently forgot to credit me for my 10 years of overseas service when I retired at the end of August 2019, and they still haven’t processed the correction.

  4. 1. I guess DODDS overseas employees receive nothing correct? No 1.7%, correct. How is there retirement determined from overseas?

    2. Regarding – Only DIA, NSA, CIA. What if you aren’t an intelligence officer but working for DIA n some other capacity and working overseas?

    • 1. Correct. Their annuities are calculated in the same way as those working stateside.
      2. The annuities of of non-special category employees are calculated in the standard way. See 1 above.

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