Q: I served 12 years of Army active duty, from October 1987 to July 1999. If I were to obtain a GS 13 position, would my 12 years go toward a government retirement plan? How many years would I need to continue to work at the GS position until I would be able to retire with 20 years?
A: That period of active-duty military service would only be creditable if you were to make a deposit to the civilian retirement system. That deposit would be 3 percent of your basic pay while on active duty (not including allowances or differentials). No interest would be charged if you were to complete the payment within three years. Retirement eligibility depends on a combination of age and service. As a FERS employee, you could retire at age 62 with five years of service, 60 with 20, at your minimum retirement age with 30 or at your MRA with at least 10 but fewer than 30. However, if you retired under the MRA+10 provision, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under age 62. You could, of course, defer the receipt of your annuity until a later date to reduce or eliminate the age penalty.