Service Academy time for annual leave accrual


Q.  I noticed the article on your site located here: I have been having a heck of a time getting my agency to credit my service academy time for annual leave. Two reasons for this: 1) I’m the first person to ask about this and 2) Our HR department doesn’t have much experience with military members. Is there any way to get a note or email from OPM stating this? Or perhaps a point of contact who can provide something That is about the only thing I can do to get my agency to credit that time. Their response now is that academy time is not active duty and they point to my DD214 as proof.

I notice from the comments in this posting that other people are running into the same problem.

A.  Although Section 1115 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 didn’t explicitly make academy time creditable for leave accrual purposes, according to OPM, the fact that it made that time creditable for retirement purposes also made it creditable for leave accrual purposes, both prospectively and retrospectively.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. I have the same issue. In 2007 I moved from the FTC (where I entered federal service and bought 9+ years Military service) to the NSF. The NSF ‘audited’ my personnel folder and told me that the 4 years Academy time counted towards retirement, but not leave, citing 10 USC 971 as the authority. They adjusted my SCD date to remove the Academy time from my SCD (leave).

    This seemed illogical to me at the time. I thought if it counted for one, it should count for t he other. I am retiring this year and, based on the blog article cited above I went back to my HR and have requested restoration of the 4 years to my SCD (leave) and restoration of all the hours of leave I was incorrectly deprived of because of the change to my SCD (leave), which totals (by my count) around 156 hours of leave.

    It would certainly help my case if I could also cite an OPM reference to them.

  2. I’ll share some of my research with you, please let me know if it is in error.

    1. OPM Guide to Personnel Manual, Chapter 6, subsection 1-4 establishes 5 USC 6303 as the authority for determining leave accrual stating, “Section 6303 of title 5, United States Code, sets the rules for crediting service for annual leave accrual.” Seems pretty clear to me that 10 USC 971 (which is cited by a lot of HR groups within the federal agencies is NOT applicable for establishing FERS leave accrual.

    2. 4. 5 USC 6303(a) 3: “In determining years of service, an employee is entitled to credit for all service of a type that would be creditable under section 8332 (Creditable Service), regardless of whether or not the employee is covered by subchapter III of chapter 83, and for all service which is creditable by virtue of subsection (e).

    3. 5 USC 6303(c)(1)(B)(ii) states: “each period of military service performed after December 31, 1956, and before the separation on which the entitlement to annuity under this subchapter is based, only if a deposit (with interest, if any) is made with respect to that period, as provided in section 8334 (j) of this title.

    3. Title 5, Part III, Subpart G, Chapter 83, subchapter III, para 8331(13) “military service” means honorable active service – (A) in the armed forces … (C) … and includes service as a cadet at the United States Military Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, or the United States Coast Guard Academy, or as a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy.”

    The only possible objection could be raised from Section 6303 of title 5, United States Code, which restricts the amount of leave accrual credit military retirees receive for their active duty service. However, I am not retired military, therefore, this section does not apply to me.

    Seems pretty clear to me that Service Academy time should counts for both retirement and leave accrual purposes.

  3. I posted this in the other blog entry regarding service academy and leave computation but this thread is a response to my initial inquiry above (yep, that’s me).

    Bill Marsh,

    I was able to get my time credited for annual leave but not the way it was supposed to handled. IMO, we still have a problem at my agency on this issue. I asked if they could increase my annual leave ceiling because I was credited a lot of retro-leave but they refused stating that because I decided to make a military deposit payment for the service academy time, it was my decision to get that time creditable as ANNUAL LEAVE. Therefore, they infer that you cannot get credit for service academy time unless you make a military deposit payment. This is of course not correct. Do you have a POC at OPM my HR people can talk to? I need to push these folks in the right direction otherwise those coming behind me are going to run into a wall.


  4. The issue of using 10 USC Sec 971 as a basis for denying leave accrual for service academy time is specious. Those personnel officers who cite this part of public law stop at the end of the first sentence and look no further. Definitions and words matter. Here is the full cite:

    (b) Prohibition on Counting Service as a Cadet or Midshipman. – In computing length of service for any purpose, service as a cadet or midshipman may not be credited to any of the following officers:

    (1) An officer of the Navy or Marine Corps.

    (2) A commissioned officer of the Army or Air Force.

    (3) An officer of the Coast Guard.

    (4) An officer in the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service.

    On its face, it appears that service credit is not granted. Look more closely as to who that service credit is not granted: commissioned officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coas Guard and PHS. Retired officers are no longer commissioned. Once retired, their commission is held in abeyance until they are brought back to active duty. If they are not brought back to active duty, they do not carry a commission. Various other parts of Title 10 reflect this fact. Look at the UCMJ. Retirees are treated completely different with respect to several aspects of Title 10, including the UCMJ.

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