Military buyback and federal retirement


Q. I retired from the Army National Guard in 1991 with more than 20 years of National Guard service and approximately 13 years of active-duty (AGR) time. After retiring from the Guard, I spent 10 years in the private sector and six years working in state government before I was hired by the VA in 2006. I am 60 and just began receiving my National Guard retirement (20-plus years after retirement).

Can I buy into the federal retirement plan based on my service time/points? If so, approximately when would I be eligible for retirement? What would be the impact on my Guard pension, and how do I proceed?

A. You could make a deposit to the civilian retirement system and get credit for your years of active-duty service. Doing so would have no adverse effect on your reserve retired pay. To find out what you would owe, complete Form RI 20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it to the finance office for your branch of service, along with a copy of your DD 214, Report of Transfer of Discharge. Your finance office will let you know your earnings. Take that, a copy of your DD 214 and a completed copy of Standard Form 3108, Application to Make Service Credit Payment, to your payroll office. They’ll calculate what you owe. Then you can decide if you want to do that. Note: The RI and Standard Form are downloadable at; click on Find Form(s).


About Author

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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