Military buyback


Q. I served from April 1983 to April 2001 with 17 years, 11 months and 29 days. I received a separation payment of $32,690. I have since received a 90 percent disability rating through the VA and have paid back the separation pay. I am looking at starting working for the federal service at a GS-9 position at the VA hospital; should I buy back my military time? I am 49 and looking at working until I reach 62.

If I buy back my time, how much will I have to pay to buy it back?

A. I don’t know if you should buy it back. That’s up to you. However, I can help you get to the point where you can decide for yourself.

Complete OPM Form RI 20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it to your military finance center with a copy of your DD 214, Report of Transfer or Discharge. It will provide you with your estimated earnings. After you are hired, you can take that letter, a copy of your DD 214 and Standard Form 3108, Application to Make Service Credit Payment, to your payroll office. The folks there can tell you how large the deposit would be. Then you can make up your mind. Note: You can get copies of those forms at; click on Find Form(s).


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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