Retirement and military buyback

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Q. In 2002, I became a FERS employee and bought back almost 13 years of AFS.

Since 9/11, I have been mobilized on active-duty orders that pushed me over the 20-year AFS mark, and I have been drawing an active-duty pension since June 1. I have gotten different answers to my question: Do I still have 20 years of federal employee time such that I could retire next year at the MRA of 56, or do I revert to only about five years of creditable federal service as a government employee? Also, if I must revert back to only five years, do I get back the almost $13,000 I used to buy back my AFS years to become a federal employee? At that time, I had never imagined having an active-duty military retirement.

A. Here are your choices. When you retire, you can either 1) waive you military retired pay and get credit for your active-duty service in determining your total years of service and have it used in the computation of your annuity or 2) not waive you military retired pay, have your annuity based solely on your years of civilian service and receive a refund of the deposit you made. For chapter and verse on this, go to www.opm.gov/retire/pubs/handbook/C023.pdf.

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