Sanctuary reservist retirement


Q. I am a Postal Service employee with an issue. I was on active duty from January 1985 until April 1994, when I separated from the military and entered the Reserve.

I started work at the Postal Service in 1995, and bought back my military time.

In January 2003, I was mobilized on active duty until 2013. During this period (approximately July 2011), I fell into sanctuary (18-year lock in) and was retained on active duty to complete 20 years of active federal service, Feb. 28, 2013.

I am now back at the Postal Service trying to make up contributions for my last 10 years away from the Post Office and am being told by the Human Resource Service Center that I cannot receive an active-duty military retirement check and use that time toward the USPS retirement.

My retirement orders put me in the Retired Reserves, but I do get an active-duty check, and my last DD-214 states under “narrative reason for separation”: Sufficient service for retirement.

A. Because you are eligible for or receiving military retired pay, you can’t get credit for your active-duty service unless you make a deposit for that time and waive your retired pay when you retire from your civilian job.


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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


  1. I am a Retired military reservist and receive retirement pay as part of the Early Age Drop retire pay because 3 of my 6 deployments came after 2009. I also receive a VA disability rated at 80%. I’m considering accepting a Federal Job (GS-11) once offered and the contractor job goes away. I’ve spent the last two years in this position as a contractor and I was ask to apply for the GS-11 position by my active duty supervisor. He is not involved in hiring or evaluation process in fact he is retiring in 9 mos. Am I eligible for a GS retirement on top of my reserve retirement. How many years to be vested? Can I use any of my active duty years (18) or State Government (5 years) service towards a federal service retirement? How may years 5/10/15/20 can I use for make up contributions and what happens to my USAR Retirement and VA Disability. Thanks, SR

    • The fact that you are receiving reserve retired pay or VA disability pay would have no affect on your ability to take a federal civilian job and, when you retired, receive both benefits with no reduction in any of them. To become vested in the federal retirement system, you would have to work for 5 years and have retirement deductions taken from your pay. Service with other entities cannot be used to meet that threshold.

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