Military buyback


Q. Trying to find out how much to buy back my military time. My military service was from January 1973 to December 1980, with a total income of $51,491 for the eight years of service.

A. First things first. You can only make a deposit for all of your active-duty service or none at all. Partial deposits aren’t permitted. To find out what you would owe, you have to follow this official path. Complete Form RI 20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service and mail it to the military finance center for your branch of service, along with a copy of your DD Form 214, Report of Transfer of Discharge. The finance center will provide you with an official statement of your earnings. Take that and a copy of your DD 214 and a Standard Form 2803 (CSRS) or 3108 (FERS) to your local payroll office and ask for an estimate of the deposit required, including accrued interest. Once you know the amount, you can arrange to make the deposit, if you decide to do that. Note: The above forms are available at, click on Forms.


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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