Q: I am a Reserve JAG in the Air Force and work for the Patent Office as an attorney. I received an e-mail from a guy I met on a cruise last month who is working for the federal government in Iraq. He can’t seem to to buy in for his retirement because his DD 214 indicates that he may get a disability retirement under TDRL. However, he didn’t, and now he has no retirement and can’t get credit for his service. That is wrong. Apparently his agency thinks that only the DD-214 is authorized to state whether he is on a retirement. I do not, but I can’t find anything in the regulations. Does he need to have a DD-215 issued?
A: A DD 214, Report of Transfer or Discharge, is given to anyone who retires, separates or is discharged from active military duty. He needs to send a copy of that form and a completed Form RI-20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, to the finance center for his branch of service. What he’ll get back is a form or letter showing his estimated earnings while on active duty. He should take that, a copy of the his DD 214, and Standard Form 2803 (CSRS) or 3108 (FERS) to his payroll office, which will calculate how much he owes. If there’s any doubt about the creditability of his service, have them call OPM for a definitive answer. Note: The RI and Standard Forms are available in personnel offices or down-loadable at www.opm.gov, click on Find Forms(s).