Military buyback


Q. I have tried numerous times to buy back or pay back for my military service so it can be used to civilian retirement. Each time I have been denied. What is the proper way to do this? How do I find out how much it will cost me each paycheck? And normally how long does it take? I was in the Army from August 1972 (months of delay entry) to December 1986.

I am now employed by the government in civilian service position (GS). I understand the time presently is going to leave only, and not my retirement. I would like to pay this back so when I can retire, it will be included.

A. You’ll need to complete a copy of Form RI-20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it to the military finance center for your branch of service with a copy of your DD 214, Report of Transfer or Discharge. When you get that information, take it to your payroll office with a copy of your DD 214 and a Standard Form 3108. Your payroll office will figure out how much you owe and arrange for you to make the deposit if you decide to do that. If you make a deposit, you’ll get credit for your active-duty service in determining your total years of civilian service and have it used in the computation of your annuity.


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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