Active-duty time doesn't count


Q: I read your Q&As and found the answer I was looking for, but with one variable missing. I see that active-duty years cannot count toward the 25-year retirement from federal firefighting without being called to active duty while in a covered position. What if all of your active-duty years were as a firefighter — does that make a difference? My question comes from the fact that my Total Workforce Management System early retirement date would only be possible if my active years counted. I have bought back my years.

A: No, it doesn’t make a difference. Your active-duty time as a firefighter can’t be treated as covered service for retirement purposes under the special provision.


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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


  1. Bradley Robinson on

    I am being medically retired from military service with a “permanently retired” rating of 70%. I am retiring under Special Provisions Disability Retirement as MilTech. VA rating 90%. I have active duty service I was buying back into FERS. I am told I cannot continue to buy back or write a check for the remaining amount based on what my orders say. Is this true and why? It’s a substantially different sum if I buy back my time. I was told that I will be refunded the sum I have already bought back.

    Retirement type and allotment code: Permanent/12
    Component: ARNG
    Authority: AR 635-40
    Statute authorizing retirement: 1204
    Other eligible laws: Not Applicable
    Disability retirement: 13 Year(s), 09 Month(s), 05 Day(s)
    Basic Pay: 18 Year(s), 00 Month(s), 15 Day(s)
    Completed over 4 years of active service as Enl or WO: N/A
    Disability is based on injury or disease received in LOD as a direct result of Armed Conflict or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the LOD during a war period as defined by law: YES
    Member of an armed force on 24 Sep 75: NO
    Disability resulted from a combat related injury as defined in 26 USC 104: YES
    Disability incurred in the line of duty in a combat zone or result of performing combat related operations YES
    Format: 687

    • I’m not aware of anything that would prevent you from making a deposit to get credit for your active duty service.

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