Buyback refund


Q: I am getting ready to retire with 42 years of creditable service at age 64. At age 62, I did not have enough quarters to qualify for Social Security benefits other than medical. However, I did pay the military buyback prior to age 62. Since Social Security benefits other than medical will not be paid due to not having sufficient quarters at age 62, is the retiree entitled to a refund of any kind for the money for the military buyback? If so, is it the amount that was paid into the buyback?

A: Just to make sure that we are all on the same page, here are the rules. If an employee retires before age 62 and is eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62, any years of active-duty service for which a deposit has not been paid will be eliminated and his annuity recomputed downward. If he retires after reaching age 62 and is eligible for a Social Security benefit at that time, the annuity reduction will be made on the day he retires. No refund is payable to anyone who makes a deposit to get credit for his military service and later finds that he needn’t have done so.


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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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