Military buyback


Q. I was medically retired from active-duty Air Force in 2009. I received a retirement check for approximately seven months, and then I was no longer eligible as I was only able to receive my Veterans Affairs Department compensation. I am a federal employee. Am I eligible to buy back my military time? Would that time be counted toward my leave equation? If I am eligible, what actions do I need to take?

A. Yes, as long as you aren’t either receiving or entitled to military retired pay. To make a deposit, complete Form RI 20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it to your military finance center along with a copy of your DD 214, Report of Transfer or Discharge. They’ll tell you what your estimated earnings were.

Take that information to your local payroll office along with your DD 214 and Standard Form 3108, Application to Make Service Credit Payment. Your payroll office will compute the amount you owe. While there isn’t any time limit on making a deposit, the sooner you do it, the less interest you’ll pay. FYI: The RI and SF forms are available online. Just go to and 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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