Military buyback


Q. I am an active-duty member of the Air Force with five years of service.

I am planning to stay in for five more years to transfer my post-9/11 education benefits to my kids. I am looking to get out of active service at the 10-year mark and would like to remain working for the federal government. How would my years of service count toward retirement if I began to work for the Veterans Administration versus switching service branches (i.e. public health services corps)?

A. If you went to work as a civilian for the federal government, you’d get credit for your active-duty service in determining your annual leave accrual rate. However, you wouldn’t get any credit for that time in determining your length of service for retirement purposes or used in your annuity computation unless you made a deposit to the civilian retirement system. The deposit would equal 3 percent of your basic military pay. No interest would be charged if you completed the deposit within two years.


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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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