Q: I retired from active duty military as of Sept. 25, 1993, and entered the Defense Department federal civil service Jan. 10, 1994. As of Jan. 10, 2011, I will have 17 years in federal civil service and will be 59 years old. My high-3 grade is GS-11. Is there any way I could buy back my military time, 20 years, to add to my federal civil service time to gain 20 years? For 17 years of civil service time, what would the percentage of retirement pay be? I am under the Federal Employees Retirement System.
A: If you make a deposit for your active duty service, it won’t count toward the 20 years of covered service needed to retire under the special provision for firefighters. Further, in order to get any credit for that time, you would have to waive your military retired pay when you retire from your civilian job. Assuming that you completed 20 years of covered firefighter service, your annuity would be calculated using this formula: 0.017 x your high-3 x 20 years. The active duty time for which you made a deposit and waived your retired pay would be calculated using the standard formula: 0.01 x your high-3 x the years of service for which you made a deposit. If you didn’t retire as a firefighter, all your service – actual and deposit with waiver – would be computed using the standard 0.01 multiplier.