Military buyback


Q. I have just started the process to buy back my five years of active-duty military service. Doing so would enable me to retire at age 56 with 33 years’ service. I retired from the reserves with 22 years and will be entitled to a military pension at age 60. In a retirement seminar recently, a presenter told me I should not buy back my time because I would then forfeit my military pension. At a previous seminar, we were told it would be foolish not to buy back one’s military time. Who is correct?

A. The first presenter was correct. Making a deposit to get credit for active-duty service would not affect your reserve retired pay. The second presenter would have been right only if he was referring to someone receiving military retired pay. In most cases, that person would have to waive his military retired pay when he retired from his civilian job.


About Author

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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