Military buyback


Q.  I am a medically retired veteran with a VA rating of 100 percent and military rating of 60 percent.  I had seven years and seven months of active-duty time before I was medically retired from the Air Force.  If  I started working as a federal employee, can I buy back my military time; if so how much will it cost and what will the benefit be?  If I buy back my military time, will I lose my VA disability compensation?  And lastly, if I can buy back my time, does that mean I would only have to work 13 years before I could retire?

A.  If you go to work for the government, you can make a deposit for those years and months of active duty service. The amount due would be 3 percent of your base pay, not including allowances and differentials. Interest would also be charged if you delayed making the deposit for two years. Making the deposit would have no affect on your VA disability compensation.

If you make the deposit your final annuity would be increased by 1 percent for each year (1/12 percent per month) unless you retired at age 60 with at least 20 years of combined service. Then it would be increased by 1.1 percent per year.
As for how long you’d have to work before becoming eligible to retire, here are the age and service combinations: age 65 with 5, 60 with 20, at your minimum retirement age with 30, or at your MRA with at least 10 but fewer than 30. If you retired under the MRA+10 provision, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under age 62. Note: To reduce or eliminate the age penalty, you could retire under the MRA+10 provision and delay the receipt of your annuity to a later date.

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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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