Q. I spent 11 years on active duty as USNR. I then spent another 10 years in the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service, but was never assimilated into the Regular Corps (thus the equivalent of reserve status). I collect a military retirement and now work for the government under FERS. Since all my active-duty time was as a reserve officer, can I buy back any of my time, even though I collect a pension? I was told as regular military you can’t, but as a reserve status, you should be able to.

A. Reserve service is rarely creditable for retirement and, as a rule, you can’t get credit for it by making a deposit. To see the rules and exceptions, go to


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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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