Military buyback, high-3 definition


Q. I served nine years in the military and bought back that time. When I retire at 56, I will have 33 years in Civil Service. Will I be eligible to receive the FERS annuity until I am 62? Also, does the high-3 consecutive salaries mean for the last three years? My income has remained the same since the pay freeze was implemented. Will my high-3 include these years, or will it be based on the last three pay increases I received? I am close to retirement, and my decision to retire will be based on the answer to this question.

A. You will be able to receive your FERS annuity until you die. On the other hand, the FERS special retirement supplement, which is based solely on your actual FERS service, will be paid only until you reach age 62 and become eligible for a regular Social Security benefit, unless you exceed the annual Social Security earnings limit ($14, 640 in 2012). Your high-3 will be based on your three highest consecutive years of average salary (78 biweekly pay periods), whenever they occurred in your career.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

Leave A Reply