Service computation dates


Q. I served on active duty in the Army for three years (May 30, 1996, to May 29, 1999) and got an honorable discharge. My employment since is as follows: May 1999-Oct. 1999 seasonal with Agriculture Department; May 2000-Aug. 2000 seasonal with Agriculture Department; May 2002-July 2004 full-time with Defense Department; Oct. 2008-March 2010 full-time with Interior Department; and July 2010-current full-time with Agriculture Department. I sent in a RI 20-97 for my estimated earnings during my time in the military and have a number: $40,560. Human Resources has computed an estimated buyback amount for my military time — $1,761.30 — which is correct if my federal service start date is May 30, 1999. My question is: What is my federal service start date? And is this date the same as the start of the interest-free period (which I understand to be a two-year period after which interest is accrued)? Currently, my leave and earnings statement shows a service computation date for leave at Nov. 27, 2002 (which goes back farther than I would estimate, even with my military time), but there is no SCD for retirement. Where can I find my SCD for retirement?

A. Yes, there is more than one SCD. The one you have on your pay slip may be for leave-accrual purposes. Since you haven’t yet made a deposit to get credit for your period of active-duty service, it shouldn’t include those years. To find out what your SCD is for retirement purposes, you’ll have to check with your HR specialist.


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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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