Military buyback


 Q. I’ve been a federal employee since 2010. I recently paid off my military buyback. I’m eligible for retirement through the Army Reserve. My human resources person just told me that if I retire from the Reserve, all the buyback time I have toward my civilian retirement (leave accrual, step increases, etc.), I lose all of that. In other words, I should not have bought back my military time because I cannot receive military reserve retirement and apply that time to my federal civilian service. Is that true? If so, can I get back the money I put into the military buyback?

A. What your HR person told you is dead wrong. You don’t have to waive your reserve retired pay, as clearly stated in 10 U.S. Code 12731-12739. For proof, tell the HR to go to and scroll to Section 22A3.1-3, which applies to both CSRS and FERS employees.


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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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