Military buyback


Q. I am a FERS employee considering buying back my service time. I retired after 23 years in the Army. I’m 49 years old and have five years of federal time as of 2013. Would it be in my best interest to buy back my military time and put it toward federal retirement? What would be the impact?

A. Here’s the upside. If you make a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service, you’d have 28 years of creditable service. If you retired at your minimum retirement age (56), you’d have 35 years of service and your annuity would be 35 percent of your highest three consecutive years of average basic pay. You’d also be entitled to the special retirement supplement, which approximates the amount of Social Security benefit you earned during those 12 years while you were a FERS employee.

Here’s the downside. To get credit for those years of active-duty service, you’d have to waive your military retired pay before you retire.


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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


  1. I am a post 1956 military honorary discharged after 28 months of active service without military retirement pay and a 40% disabled veteran employed by the USPS, how do I request a waiver of interest on military buy back?

    • I’m not aware of any provision in law or regulation that would allow the government to waive the interest on deposits to get credit for active duty service.

  2. Are there any other impacts if you waive military retired pay? Are Tricare, BX, commissary, etc. unaffected? Nobody seems to know the answer to this, nor is there a POC that I can find that will answer this definitively.

    • Based on what I’ve heard from others who elected to waive their military retired pay, it had no affect on their other military rights and privileges.

  3. Heidemarie Burton on

    I’m currently in the FERS system, since 2014. I had prior military service from 1982-1995. I opted to buy back my military time for the 12 1/2 years. Does buying back my military time change the percent of my contribution to my FERS? I’m currently contributing 4.4%.

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