Q. I have been out of federal service since Jan. 1, 1994, and got a buyout then.  I am looking to re-enter federal service.  Do I have to repay my buyout or do I have to put money back in my CSRS or can I just start with FERS?

A. Since you have been away for at least five years, you do not have to repay the buyout you received. When you return to government service, you will automatically be placed in CSRS Offset (CSRS and Social Security) with the option of transferring to FERS. Because you took a refund of your retirement contributions after Feb. 28, 1991, you will get no credit for your prior service unless you redeposit that money, 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

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