Applying for a fed job after break in service


Q. I worked for the federal government in a DoD position. After 18 years in this position I quit and went to work in the contracting sector. I’m applying for a position now and it states on the job announcement that former and current civil service employees may apply. Will I have any problems getting on after a break in service of over 10 years, and do my past 18 years still count for leave and retirement purposes?

A. I don’t know if you’ll “have any problems getting on,” whatever that means. However, I can tell you that if you left your retirement contributions in the retirement fund, as a rule your prior years of service will count for leave accrual and retirement purposes. If you didn’t, with rare exception you’ll have to redeposit that money, plus accrued interest, to get credit for it.


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

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