Military buyback and terminal leave


Q. Like many prior-service members, I started my federal civilian job while on terminal leave. I started paying into FERS on my start date. There is a three-month overlap on my DD214 and my civilian position.

I would like to buy back my five years continuous active-duty time, but would like to NOT buy back the terminal leave period. Those three months add up to a five-figure chunk of change, and none of it is creditable since I cannot “double count” the time toward retirement. My agency states that I must pay back the entire period. Is that correct? And is there no exception to the FERS regulations to cover federal employees working on terminal leave? If not, it means I’m forced to double pay for time that can only be counted once.

A. Your agency is correct. It’s all or nothing.


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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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