Military buyback


Q: I voluntarily separated after 11 years of Navy service in 2003 and received a separation payment. Six months later, in 2004, I took a civil service job and have been a civil service employee since. When I came into the civil service they set my retirement Service Computation Date in 2004 and not as 1993 when I entered the Navy because of the separation pay, or so I thought. In 2005, I was approved for 30 percent disability, but the VA said they had to recoup the separation pay before I could start to get my disability payments due to federal regulations (which I understand, something about concurrent benefits), but that at that time my retirement SCD would revert back to 1993 when I came in the Navy, effectively buying back my military time. Now, 2011, the separation pay has been fully recouped, but my current Human Resources department says that was just to recoup the separation pay and they refuse to change my retirement SCD from 2004 back to 1993. They still want me to buy back my years of service in the Navy. I thought that’s what the whole separation pay thing was about. Who’s right?

A: Your Human Resources department is right. You can’t get credit for your active-duty service for your length of service or in your annuity computation unless you make a deposit for that time, plus accrued interest.


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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

1 Comment

  1. Military separation pay has nothing to do with your SCD or making military deposit for civil service credit. Your VA disability payment cannot be paid until your military separation payment is fully deducted from that. On the bright side, the Govt. cannot deduct your VA disability payment from your FERS annuity (assuming you retire under FERS). If you had retired from the military, your military retirement pay would be reduced by the amount of your disability pay.

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