Military buyback before possible federal work


Q. I recently interviewed for a government position and would like to know your opinion on what I should do should I get the position. I have more than 9 years’ active-duty Air Force time, which concluded in 1993. I have not had another government job since then. I assume it would be foolish on my part not to buy back those years for this new position should I be selected for employment, correct? I am 48.

A. If you make a deposit for your period of active-duty service, now is the time to do it. You won’t be charged interest if you complete that deposit with three years minus one day. Doing so will increase your creditable service by 9+ years and be worth an additional 9+ percent in your annuity when you retire. Note: Even if you make the deposit, you’ll still have to work for a full five years to be vested in the retirement system.


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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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