Q: I am a USDA employee who will be eligible for FERS retirement at age 62 in January 2012. For the past year, I having been trying to find out though my agency’s Human Resources Department whether my work as a SCEP for the Defense Department between 1968 and 1970 qualifies as creditable service. I left the program due to a “reduction in force.” I received severance pay and withdrew my retirement contributions. If possible, I would like to buy back the time while I was on active duty. Any thoughts on how I can get an answer to my question?
A: If retirement deductions were taken from your pay while working in the Student Educational Employment Program and you took a refund of that money, you should still have gotten credit for that time in determining your total years of service. If you redeposited that amount, plus accrued interest, you would get credit for it in your annuity calculation. If you didn’t, your annuity would be actuarially reduced based on the amount you owe and your age at retirement. Note: If there is still some uncertainty about the creditability of that SCEP service, your agency personnel office can check with OPM.