Buying back military time


Q: I am a FERS employee. I hope you can help me with calculating what my civil service retirement check will be if I do the military buyback program. I served seven years active duty and 22 years reserve duty. My reserve retirement paycheck will be approximately $1,700 that I will start collecting at age 60. I would like to know an approximate monthly amount that my civil service retirement check would be if I bought back my military time. I realize I can only collect one or the other. I am, at this point, in the military buyback program: I know what my wages earned are and how much the deposit is. I am at the point where I want to see if it’s worth it to continue with the military buyback program. I want to compare the two retirement checks.

A: First, let me correct an error. If you make a deposit for your active-duty service, it won’t affect your entitlement to reserve retired pay. Those years will simply be added to your years of civilian service and be used in the computation of your annuity. Since you are a FERS employee, you can use the following formula to calculate your FERS annuity: 0.01 x your high-3 x your years of service. If you retire at age 62 or later, the multiplier would be increased to 0.011. To be eligible to retire, you wold need to have one of the following combinations of age and service: 62 and 5, 60 and 20, at your minimum retirement age with 30 or at your MRA with at least 10 but fewer than 30. MRAs range between 55 and 57, depending on your year of birth.


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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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