Military buyback


Q. I retired with 21-plus years of military service and am now a federal employee.

I retired about 13 years ago and have been collecting military retirement.

I have been a federal employee for about 11 years. Can I still buy back my military service? If so, would it be worth it, and how does that work?

A. Yes, you can make a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service.

To do that, you’ll need to complete a copy of Form RI-20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it to the military finance center for your branch of service with a copy of your DD 214, Report of Transfer or Discharge. When you get that information, take it to your payroll office with a copy of your DD 214 and a Standard Form 3108.

Your payroll office will figure out how much you owe and arrange for you to make the deposit if you decide to do that.

If you make a deposit, you’ll get credit for your active-duty service in determining your total years of civilian service and have it used in the computation of your annuity. However, there’s a potential downside to making a deposit that you’ll have to consider. At retirement, you’ll have to waive your military retired pay. If you don’t, credit for that active-duty service will be eliminated and the amount you deposited returned to you, with accrued interest.


About Author

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

Leave A Reply