Federal employment after military service


Q. I will be a 40-year-old physician with 12 years of military service in 2014. I plan on staying in the reserves. I would like to work for the VA as well, but I don’t know how to calculate my potential retirement benefits, assuming I stay in the military and retire from the Navy as well. I have read things about “buying into” a federal retirement with my years of active duty, but I don’t know what that means or what my best option is. What are my options for retirement if I stay in the Navy and work for the VA for my entire career?

A. Briefly, if you go to work for the government, you can make a deposit to get credit for any periods of active-duty service.

That time will be used in determining your total years of civilian service and in your annuity computation when you retire. Once you meet the age and service requirements to retire, the following formula will be used: 0.1 x your highest three consecutive years of basic pay x your years and full months of service (0.11 if you retire at age 60 or later with 20 or more years of actual and active-duty service for which you’ve made a deposit).

If you are entitled to reserve retired pay, you won’t have to waive that pay when you retire. If you are entitled to military retired pay, you’ll have to waive that pay or your deposit will be refunded to you and you won’t receive any credit for that time.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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