Buying back military time


Q: If I pay about $4,000 I will have my 12 years of military service counted. I got hurt at my federal job, and I am thinking about asking for FERS disability. The problem is, I am a month shy of the 18 months required. Can I only pay a portion of the $4,000 (to have the month required), or do I have to pay the whole amount? Are we allowed to just pay part of the buyback money?

A: First, you have to have 18 months of creditable civilian service under FERS to be eligible to apply for disability retirement. Active-duty service for which a deposit has been made doesn’t count toward meeting that requirement. Second, you can’t make a deposit that covers only a portion of a period of active-duty service. It’s all or nothing.


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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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