Veterans and federal employment


Q: I just recently became employed as a GS. In reviewing my Notification of Personnel Action form (SF-50), I had a number of questions which I asked of our human resources personnel: The form indicated I have no veterans’ preference and no creditable years of military service, though I have almost 25 years of service. The response I received was that I would have to surrender my pay and purchase the years of military service if I want to have it credited for civilian service. I have no intention of doing this. I was referred to the Office of Personnel Management VetGuide, which did not answer my questions. Can you tell me what is correct?

A: Unless your branch of service confirms that your military retired pay was awarded on account of a service-connected disability either incurred in combat with an enemy of the U.S. or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war, your HR personnel are correct. Even if they do confirm that, you’d need to make a deposit to the civilian retirement system to get any credit for that period of active-duty service.


About Author

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

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