Military buyback


Q. I receive military retirement pay for 21 years of service in the Air Force. I started working as a federal civilian employee (GS 9 step 1) two months ago. I have not bought back my military time. I am 41. If I continue to work as a federal civilian for another 20 years and buy back my military service, which would give me 40 years total, does my combined retirement/annuity add up to more than if I wouldn’t buy back my military time, keeping my separate military retirement check and my separate FERS annuity check?

A. You are asking me to do your homework. I can’t do that. What I can tell you is the formula for calculating a FERS annuity: .01 x your highest three consecutive years of average basic pay x your years and full months of service. That period of service can either be pure FERS or FERS plus active-duty military service for which you’ve made a deposit. If you make a deposit for your active-duty military service, you’ll have to waive your military retired pay when you retire from your civilian job.


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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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