Buying back military time


Q: Is the only way to buy back military time is to pay the whole amount to FERS in a lump sum? I thought if you were still working, you could have it deducted in installments from your federal civilian pay each month. I also thought if you put in your retirement paperwork and still wanted to buy back military time, and you couldn’t afford the lump-sum payment just as you were about to retire, you could buy back the time by receiving a smaller monthly retirement until the time was paid back. When the amount was paid in full, you’d start to receive your retirement based on the military time plus any other federal civilian time served.

A: You can make a deposit through payroll deduction, periodic payments or in a lump sum. You’ll need to complete the deposit before the final adjudication of your retirement application by OPM. You can’t complete a deposit after you have retired.


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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