Question about buyback


Q: I had eight years of active duty after being honorably discharged from the Army in 2001. In 2008, I got a federal government job. I began to buy back my military time. I am leaving the federal government after years, but before I finish buying my time back. What are my options for the money? I do plan on coming back to the government some day. Can I just leave the money in there or will it be automatically refunded? Can I continue to contribute to it even though I am no longer a federal employee?

A: When you leave, you will be offered two choices. You can either leave your contributions and deposit in the retirement fund or you can receive a refund of both. If you return to work for the government, you can complete the deposit. (You cannot make any deposits while you aren’t employed by the federal government.) If you don’t return to work for the government, you can, at any time, ask for a full refund of your contributions and deposit.


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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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