FERS and (Title 32) military retirement

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Q. I was active-duty military (Title 10) from 1987 to 1999. I became a military technician in 1999 under FERS and am currently still buying back those 11 years of active duty. I recently took an AGR (Title 32) position with the National Guard after 10 years of federal service as a military technician. At age 56 I intend to retire with 20 years of active duty as an AGR. This coincides with my federal MRA+10 (age 56 years). Can I collect a FERS retirement and a military retirement? Is there a particular strategy I should employ with these two retirements? i.e. submit MRA+10 retirement after or before AD retirement?or should I terminate my military deposit now because I cannot draw both and cannot get my military deposit back?

A. You can collect both your military retired pay and your FERS annuity without a reduction in either. If you complete that deposit for your active-duty service, you’ll get credit for that time in determining your creditable service and in your FERS annuity calculation. If you don’t complete the deposit, you won’t get any credit for that time, and you won’t be able to get a refund of what you did deposit until you separate from your civilian job or retire from it.

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About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

40 Comments

  1. Sir, I joined the ANG in 1985 and started as a Technician and into the FERS as a full time employee in 1989. I worked as a technician from 1989 to 1997 when I was hired as an AGR. I was told by HRO to sell my FERS annuity and stupidly I did. I then went into a AGR position and just retired from the ANG with my active duty retirement. I am collecting my pension and just recently got hired by the Veterans Administration. I was told that a new law went into affect in 2010 allowing and individual to buy back their FERS if they sold it in the past. I had about 9 1/2 years federal and plan on buying this back. My question to you is can I buy back any of my AGR time or title 10 time that I performed while in the ANG and not have to waive my active duty pension that I am now collecting. Thank you for your time. Kevin

    • Yes, you can make a deposit to get credit for those refunded years of FERS service. While you could make a deposit to get credit for your active duty service, at retirement you would have to waive your military retired pay.

  2. Can I buy back federal retirement (FERS) with title 32 activations? I will be on title 32 orders for 6 months or longer and wanted to see if I can still get time in service towards my federal retirement and I can still buy back…

  3. What about Title 32 time before starting employment as a technician (I’m 10 years part-time ANG with numerous Title 32 orders)? I am being told that my Title 32 time is not creditable for leave accrual and not eligible for buy-back? It appears there may be a Title 10 limitation for creditable “active-duty” time concerning leave accrual.

    • According to OPM, “Service performed in the militia or National Guard has never been considered military service, unless the individual was called or drafted into the actual service of the United States.” Therefore, no credit can be given for leave accrual nor may you make a deposit to get credit for that time.

  4. I attended flight school as a Warrant Officer in the Army National Guard under Title 32 orders. The orders under which Guard Members attend flight school is a function of funding available in a given fiscal year. The school was nearly two years in length and involved a PCS move both ways. Fort Rucker’s flight school makes no distinction between Guard and active duty as to curriculum or expectations of its students. You mentioned “service of the United States”. Is there any exception in this case in which I could buy back these two years?

    • I’m not aware of any exception to that rule. However, to be sure, you can ask your agency’s personnel office to check with OPM.

    • Matthew Krutzfeldt on

      you can only buy back Title 32 time if you were previously a technician and did not resign your position. Only title 10 time can be bought and applied to federal credit to adjust SCD.

  5. Sharmelitta James on

    So let me see if I understand this: I served in the military for 18 years, 16 of those years were AGR Title 32, I cannot buy back those Active Duty years because they don’t consider it to be credited years? So, not only am I not getting a retirement for the 18 years of service I served, I also cannot use those 18 years of service toward my retirement from my current federal service. WOW!

    • If those two years of active duty service were with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard, you can make a deposit to get credit for that time.

  6. I was active duty from 1984 to 1990. I bought back my time. I became a title 32 technician January 1992, I was medically separated in March of 2009. My minimum retirement age was 56 1/2, had I been allowed to stay on as a dual status technician. I am currently going to school and in the future may seek employment that may restore me to earning capacity. If this happens would I qualify for any other retirements.

  7. I have a question regarding retirement. I am a Reservist and plan to retire in the Reserves and I currently work for Veteran Affairs as a Federal employee and plan to retire from there as well. In that case will I be able to receive retirement from both simultaneously?

  8. Similar but related question: I am currently an Air Force AGR closing on a 20-year AGR retirement (~15 years of AD before I became a reservist), as well as a GS on LWOP while on Military Duty (I served about 3 years as a TR and a GS simultaneously before picking up the AGR position). Is there a way to collect my full-time AGR retirement, as well as buy my AD time into FERS and collect a second pension there later on once I retire for a second time? If so, what are the process and applicable regs.

  9. Matthew Edwards on

    I was active duty Army for 4 years, before transferring to the Army National Guard (title 32). I now work for the VA and the National Guard, and am buying back my 4 years of Active Duty towards my FERS retirement. When I retire from Federal civil service, and complete 20+ years in the National Guard, will I be able to collect both a FERS retirement and a military Title 32 pension? Will the 4 years of active service I bought back, also count towards my retirement points for Title 32 military pension (obviously significant at 1,460 retirement points for the NG)?

  10. I am now receiving a 50% J&S annuity as a former spouse and I am sharing the cost to fund the annuity wih my ex-husband. He now wants me to pay all the costs to fund the annuity. The FERS annuity has been in pay status for 17 months. Can he have the DRO modified to do this?

    • We aren’t qualified to answer questions about benefit entitlements in a divorce. You’ll yhave to consult an attorney.

  11. I was active duty Army for 4 years, before transferring to the Army National Guard (title 32). I now work for the VA and the National Guard, and am buying back my 4 years of Active Duty towards my FERS retirement. When I retire from Federal civil service and complte 20+ years in the National Guard, I know will be eligible to collect both a FERS retireent and a military Title 32 pension.

    However, if I transferred from the National Guard to the Army Reserve before I retire (to take on a diffent military role for instance) – would I still be eligible to collect my Federal civil service pension and my full military pension after 20+ years of military service?

  12. Michael Cohen on

    I attended Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO in 1984 upon enlisting in the NE Army National Guard. The following summer (1985) I completed my split option training (AIT) at Fort Jackson, SC while still in the NE Army National Guard. Upon taking a commission in 1988 I transferred to a US Army Reserve Unit and completed the MIOBC course (6 months) at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. I am nearing mandatory retirement as an 1811 with the US Department of Justice. Although some of my active duty time was credited, I am curious if my Active Duty for Training (Basic and AIT) while with the NE Army National Guard is eligible for credit as well under Title 10.

  13. Hello,

    I was active duty Air Force for six years. After that I went AGR with the North Dakota Air National Guard as title 32 for three years. I am thinking of taking an AGR job with the Air Force Reserves which would put me under title 10. I was told that my time with the Air National Guard would not count towards my 20 year retirement since it was under state title 32. IS there any truth to this? If so, is there maybe a loop hole so my time AGR time with Air Guard would count?

    Thanks,
    Chris

  14. Hello –

    I am currently retired civil service CSR title 32 and retired ANG as well receiving retirement pay. The guard has now instituted the Title 5 program Can I apply for a title 5 job and still collect my Title 32 Civil Service Retirement (CSR program not FERS)?

  15. I have been in the active duty Navy for 13 years and I am thinking of applying for an Air National Guard (title 32) position. If I work in the title 32 position for 7 more years, which would put me at 20 years military time, would I fall under the reserve retirement plan or the active duty retirement plan?

    • Because this is a site for federal civilian employees and retirees, we’re aren’t able to answer questions about military benefits.

  16. I am currently on LWOP/ Absent US as a title 32 AGR. It is my understanding that you can buy back up to 5 years of title 32 AGR service while under Absent US. I have two questions to ask;

    1. If I decide to stay in the AGR program after 5 years of absent US, am I still eligible to buy that time back?
    2. How long do I have to do this?

    • Because we are only able to answer questions about federal civilian employee and retirement benefits, we aren’t able to answer yours.

  17. Mr. Jones,
    I get differing opinions and would like to see if you possibly have a definitive answer. I am a title 32 dual status technician and I have bought back my 11 years of active Air Force time, thus I currently have 33 years of civil service under FERS. I also have 33 “good years” as an drill status guardsmen. My question is: If I retire from my military position, would I be eligible under OPM rules to receive discontinued service retirement (DSR) under FERS, because as a result of my military retirement I would no longer be eligible to hold my civil service position and would be removed. I am 53 with 30 years of federal civil service. I have several friends who were in same position as title 10 dual status reservists, who have received DSR, and hoping same rules apply!

  18. I just got hired as a federal technician in the ANG. I’ve been a guard bum for the past 11 years. What counts for the technician active duty buy back program? Is it title 10 only, or does my title 32 count as well. If it’s title 10 I have just shy of 2 years (this is what the post 9/11 counted), but if it’s my active duty days from my point summary title 10/32 orders I have almost 5 years, if it’s the retirement points from the guard I have closer to 8 years. As this is quite the large difference I was wondering if anyone had some knowledge to share on this, I’m a bit lost.

    Any light to shed on this?

  19. Lawrence Rucker on

    Served in the AGR program for 19+ years was medically retired, now working in State government, can I get any type of credit towards another retirement? Since Title 32 is governed by the State

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