Military buyback and retirement


Q. I am about to separate (not retire) from active duty with 20½ years of service and transfer to the Air National Guard as a military technician at GS-13. I am told that if I buy back my time, my military pension will not be affected — that I will still draw on it normally when I finally retire at whatever officer grade I achieve. I plan on staying with this unit for an additional 20 years in this position, and I am intrigued by the prospect of buying back my military time and securing a FERS retirement with 40 years’ service (20 active federal plus the 20 buyback) and my military pension (20½ years’ active duty plus 20 years of National Guard time).

Am I understanding this correctly? Will I secure each retirement (federal and military)?

A. If you will be receiving reserve retired pay, you can make a deposit to the civilian retirement system for any years of active-duty service and receive credit for that time in your civilian annuity computation. Doing so will not affect your reserve retired pay. If you will be receiving military retired pay based on your active-duty service, you can still make a deposit to the civilian retirement system and get credit for that time; however, at retirement, you will have to waive your military retired pay.


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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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