Beneficial to buy back?


Q: I have 6.25 years of military time that I can buy back. I have been a federal employee for eight years. I am 33 years old. So even if I retire at the minimum retirement age (59 I think it is at the moment), would it be beneficial to buy back this time? I have heard if you are going to have more then 30 years  before the added time that it may not be as beneficial. Any insight to all of this would be appreciated.

A: First, let’s clear up the age and service requirements to retire: 62 with 5, 60 with 20, at your minimum retirement age (which in your case would be 57), or at your MRA with at least 10 but fewer than 30 years. Each year of active-duty service for which you made a deposit would increase you annuity by 1 percent (5/12 percent per month) unless you retire at age 62 with at least 20. In that case, the multiplier would be increased to 1.1 percent. You’ll need to do the math to determine if it’s in your interest to make a deposit. To find out how much you would owe, complete a copy of OPM Form RI 20-97 Estimated Earnings During Military Service and send it along with a copy of your DD 214, Report of Transfer or Discharge, to the military finance center for your branch of service. When the answer comes back, take it, a copy of your DD 214, and a Standard Form 3108, Application to Make Service Credit Payment, to your local payroll office. They’ll figure out what you owe, including accrued interest. If you decide you want to make the deposit, they’ll help you work out a payment schedule.


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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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