Q: Upon entry into civil service, I bought into FERS, paying for 24 years of my active-duty military service. This consisted of four years of academy time and 20 years of commissioned active-duty time. I now realize I would significantly increase my total retirement pay by keeping my military retirement and only converting my four years of academy time to FERS in order to retire with MRA + 10. Is it possible to now change my election from a total buy-in and conversion to only paying for my four years of academy time and get a refund for the rest of the money I paid in? This would allow me to keep both my military retirement and the reduced civil service retirement. I’ve been a civil servant for 4 1/2 years.
A: If you choose not to waive your military retired pay, at retirement you would receive a refund of all the money you deposited to get civilian credit for that time, not just part of it. See http://opm.gov/retire/pubs/handbook/C023.pdf. Although spelled out in detail in the CSRS section, it applies equally to FERS employees.