Q: I was in the Air Force from May 1980 to June 1993. I took a separation incentive. I have been in Federal Employees Retirement System from 1993 to present. What do I do to get the best possible retirement pay? Buy back time? Would I have to pay back the separation incentive? I am 48 years old.
A: If you want to get credit for your years of active duty service, you’ll have to make a deposit to the civilian retirement fund. In your case, that would be 3 percent of your basic military pay, not including any allowances or differentials, plus accrued interest. Doing so would add that time to your civilian service credit record and increase your annuity by at least 13 percent when you retire. You wouldn’t have to pay back your special separation incentive.