Q. I am active-duty Army, and I am considering not re-enlisting the next time it comes up. At that point I will be at 11 years, and I don’t want that time to go to waste. What federal jobs can I get into from which I can still retire after 20 years? I heard of a program for buying back your time but don’t know how this work or where to find more information on it.
A. Eligibility to retire from the federal civilian service is based on a combination of age and service: age 62 with 5 years, 60 with 20, at your minimum retirement age (MRA) with 30 or your MRA with 10. In the last case, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were younger than 62 (five-twelfths of 1 percent per month). If you were to make a deposit to the retirement system, you’d get credit for your active-duty service in determining your total years of service and it would be used in your annuity computation. The deposit would equal a small percentage of your military base pay, not allowances and differentials. Note: To be vested in the retirement system, you would have to have five years of actual civilian service.
For more information, go to www.opm.gov/staffingportal/vetguide/index.asp and www.opm.gov/retire/pubs/handbook/C021.pdf.