Military buyback and postal retirement


Q. I have been a postal Service employee for 19 years and a member of the Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard for 26 years. I have approximately three years of active-duty time. If I buy back my military time to put toward my postal retirement, will that affect my military retirement? Also, when is the earliest I can retire/separate from the Postal Service and keep my pension, and what effect will retiring early have on my benefits?

A. First, making a deposit for your active-duty service will have no effect on your reserve retired pay. Second, the earliest you could retire is at your minimum retirement age with at least 10 years of service. Under the MRA+10 provision, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year (5/12 percent per month) that you were under age 62. MRAs range between 55 and 57, depending on the year in which you were born. Note: You could, of course, resign from the government at any time and apply for a deferred annuity. If you had 20 years of service (actual and bought back), you’d be eligible at age 60. I you had fewer than 20, you’d be eligible at age 62.


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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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