Q. I was born in 1963 and am retired Air Force with 20 years and four months active duty (Dec. 9, 1981-April 1, 2002). I am also a civil service employee (April 8, 2002-present). How do I calculate if it’s worth it to buy back my 20 years and four months of military service? How can I compare what I will be getting — keeping the two retirements separate vs. waiving my military retirement check and adding that time to my civil service retirement? If I buy back the military time, does it then adjust my civil service start date to include that time? (I already have my estimate of earnings. I already know the cost of buying back my military time.)
How do I calculate what my civil service retirement will be at age 55 with my military buyback time, compared with not buying it back and retiring civil service at age 56 or age 60?
A. I can tell you how to calculate a FERS annuity. The formula is the same with or without your making a deposit for your active-duty service. Here’s the formula: .01 x your highest three consecutive years of average basic pay x your years and full months of service. Because you were born in 1963, the earliest you could retire is age 56. To do so on an unreduced annuity, you’d have to have 30 years of service (actual and active duty for which you’ve made a deposit). By then, you’d be age 60. And your annuity would equal 30 percent of your high-3. (To be more precise, you can multiply all of your months of service by 1/12 of 1 percent). If you waited until age 62 and had at least 20 years of combined service, the multiplier would be .011.
If you decided against making a deposit, you could retire on an unreduced annuity when you were age 62 with at least five years of service; at age 60 with at least 20; or age 62 with at least five years of service.
Note: You could retire under what’s called the MRA+10 provision (your minimum retirement age + between 10 and 30 years of service. However, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year (5/12 of 1 percent per month) for each year you were under age 62.