RIF before vesting

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Q. I am a career conditional GS employee who can buy back more than 10 years of military time for FERS. I just learned you have to have five years to be vested in FERS and that this five years has to civil service. If I buy back my time and I am RIF’d prior to completing the five years, what happens to the money I paid in since I will not be eligible for FERS?

A. You could either request a refund of your retirement contributions or you could leave the money in the fund if you anticipate returning to work for the government. If you take the money out, and later return to work for the government, you could redeposit the money, plus accrued interest to get credit for that time.

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