Military buyback 101


Q: Can an active-duty service member roll his retirement into government service and add those years together with existing military service years? This was possible 20 years ago or so, but I was wondering whether it still is an option. I’m a 27-year veteran about to retire, and I’d rather go straight into government service and forego my retirement check from the military, if that is possible.

A: Nothing has changed. You can make a deposit to the civilian retirement system for any years of active-duty service and, if you are eligible for military retired pay, waive that pay when you retire. If you do that, you will get credit for all your years of active duty in determining your years of civilian service and in your civilian annuity computation. Note: To be eligible to retire from your civilian job, you’d need to have five years of actual employment under the civilian retirement system.


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  1. First, mentioning the 5 year requirement before they can retire under FERS was good to point out.
    However, while your answer may be correct, it is not necessarily the best advice.
    I retired with 20 years, and am receiving military retirement pay. I am now a federal civil servant with just over a year under my belt. I have been collecting, and continue to collect my military retirement pay while working as a fed.
    I would have pointed out to them that they can receive their military retirement check all the way up until they retire under FERS – and then decide whether to waive their military retirement pay.
    The only circumstance (which would cost them at least 5 years of military retirement pay) where they might want to waive the military retirement pay would be in order to qualify their military time toward their SCD-RIF, don’t you think?

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