Military buyback and divorce


Q. I retired in 1995 from the Army after 15 years and two days under the early retirement option offered. I have been working for the federal government for over 16 years. I have not bought back any military service; I draw a military pension and disability pay. I divorced my spouse in 2006; she waived all rights to my current federal annuity, Thrift Savings Plan, etc., but does receive half of my military pension and the other half as spousal maintenance outlined in the divorce decree. Would it be legal to buy back my military service credit and convert it to my current federal time? Or should I seek legal counsel on this matter? Or will Defense Finance Accounting Services deny this request because she is in receipt of half of my military pension?

A. Although we aren’t able to answer questions involving court-ordered benefits, I can tell you that you would only be able to make a deposit for your active-duty service if it didn’t result in your having to waive your military retired pay. As a rule, retired members of the military must do that. You’ll have to check with your branch of service to find out if there is something about your situation that would exempt you from that provision of law.


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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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