Retirement benefits from three sources


Q. I am a Border Patrol FERS employee (11 years) and Army National Guardsman (19 years) with prior active-duty military service. I have already purchased my active-duty time before federal employment (2½ years), as well as time from two deployments since my federal service (an additional two years).

I am now approaching my military reserve retirement (20 reserve years) and have confirmed that I will begin receiving my reserve pension at age 60. I have also confirmed that I can receive this retirement along with my FERS retirement. I plan to retire from Border Patrol at age 55. Will I be able to draw benefits from all three sources (FERS, NG and Social Security)? If so, how will my FERS or Social Security benefits be affected (if at all)? Thanks for any help you can provide.

A. You will be able to draw all three with no reduction in any. As a FERS employee, when you reach your minimum retirement age — which ranges between 55 and 57 depending on your year of birth — you also will receive the special retirement supplement, which approximates the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a FERS employee. The SRS will end when you are eligible for a regular Social Security benefit.


About Author

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


  1. I am 37. I have been in the Navy 20 years. Just a FYI. I was an Independent Duty Corpsman with Marine Force Reconnaissance I have begun the hiring process with the United States Border Patrol. I am not sure what my options are. I am an E-8. Should I try and buy back my years in military, which should cost about $8000. Can I defer receipt of military retirement until I retire from the Border Patrol? I am also curious about the amount of buy-back. Is it based on my rate of E-8? Or on the total amount I made. Due to my billet and frequent deployments, I made twice what the base pay might be. I spent a lot of time at sea or in combat. I understand the”85 Rule.” Will that apply to my retirement age? Will I have to work at least 20 years with USBP, retire at 57 or even older? The only reason I have thought about deferring my military retirement is because of the benefits of being a military retiree.

    • If you are currently entitled to military retired pay, you can continue to receive it even while employed by the federal government. You would only need to waive that pay if you want to combine that service with your civilian service, and then only when you retire from your civilian job. Waiving your military retired pay would have no affect on your other earned benefits while in the military. Note: If you would be receiving reserve retired pay, you would only need to make a deposit to get credit for that time.

      There is no “85 Rule” in the federal government. You simply have to meet the age and service requirements to retire: 62 with 5 years of service, 60 with 20, or at your minimum retirement age with 30. You could also retire at your MRA with l0; however, you annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you are under age 62.

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