Military buyback and reserve time


Q. I am a federal civilian (GS-13), and I am an O-4 in the Navy Reserve. I have chosen not to buy back my active-duty military service because I read on the Department of the Navy civilian human resources website that it would jeopardize my Navy Reserve retirement (i.e. might force me to merge or choose one or the other once I’m 60 and eligible for the Navy Reserve pension and my FERS).

I do not want to jeopardize my Navy Reserve O-4 retirement (I worked too hard for 21 years to lose it.) I also do not want to lose any benefit of that service if it is better to roll it up into FERS. Can you advise?

A. You won’t be receiving military retired pay; you’ll be receiving reserve retired pay. Therefore, you can make a deposit for any periods of active-duty service and get credit for that time in both your reserve and your civilian benefit computations.


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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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