Civilian time and federal retirement


Q. After five years in the Navy from 1987 to 1992, I got out and worked for the U.S. Postal Service for two years (1993-94). I then returned to active-duty Navy. I have more than 20 years of military service and am thinking about retiring. Will the two years I worked for the USPS count toward federal retirement or at least active federal service?

A. Your civilian service isn’t creditable toward your years of military service. Further, since you had fewer than five years of civilian service, you wouldn’t be eligible for any civilian retirement benefit. If you didn’t receive a refund of your retirement contributions when you left, you could apply for a refund now.


About Author

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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