Q. I worked for the federal government from 1980-1982 with a break in service for approximately six months and returned from October 1982 through October 2000.  After leaving federal service, I received a refund on my money that I put in but did not receive any interest.  I have now returned to federal service since June. I am enrolled in the CSRS offset program and I have three questions.

Do I have to pay back the monies I took out to get credit for those years of service?

What is the interest rate?

Since I am in CSRS Offset, will this time I am working now count for my high-3?

A. Because you took a refund of your retirement contributions before March 1, 1991, you have a choice. To get credit for that time in your annuity computation, you can either redeposit the money you took out, plus accrued interest (which varies year by year),  or you can elect to have your annuity actuarially reduced when you retire based on the amount you owe. In either case, you’ll get credit for that time in determining your total years of service. Your high-3 is based on your highest three consecutive years of average basic pay, regardless of when that occurs in your career. Your agency personnel office can help you find out what you owe and whether it would be to your advantage to make a redeposit.


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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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