Military buyback


Q. I retired with 20 years of military service. I then spent 10 years under FERS and will spend my last 10 years under the law enforcement retirement due to a merger from my old department to a new one. I will be allowed to stay until I reach age 60 in five years. Is it worth buying my military time? Will I ever recoup it?

A. You’re asking for an opinion, which I can’t give you. What I can give you are a few facts that can help you make your own decision. First, to get credit for your period of active-duty service, you’d have to make a deposit to the civilian retirement system, including accrued interest. Second, when you retire from your civilian job, you’d have to waive your military retired pay. If you did both of those things, each of those years would be worth 1 one percent of your high-3 when you retire. So, 20 years would increase your annuity by 20 percent. Note: None of those years could be used to meet the years of service requirement for a law enforcement retirement. Only actual service as an LEO counts for that.


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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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