Impact of not paying back active-duty time


Q. I served in the Air Force in active duty for almost five years before moving to CSRS. By the time I retire, I will have 40+ years under CSRS without including my active-duty military time (It would be 45+ years total federal service if I decide to by back the time). Will I be penalized if I do not buy back my five yrs active-duty time. In other words, will my retirement annuity be reduced?

A. You’ll get credit for that active-duty service in determining your total years of civilian service. However, if you don’t make a deposit, it won’t be used in the computation of your annuity. In short, your annuity would be based solely on your actual CSRS service.


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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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