Q. I served on active duty in the Air Force from February 1983 to January 1992. I joined California state government in August 1993 and recently retired after 20 years and paid into Social Security the whole time. I am now considering working as a civilian for the federal government.

Because military time, if purchased back, qualifies as CSRS time, does this mean that if I become a federal civilian employee now, that I will be under CSRS instead of FERS? Or because I have never been a federal civilian employee in the past, I must go under FERS and am not eligible for CSRS, but could buy my military time?

A. All employees first hired after Dec. 31, 1983, are automatically covered by FERS. As a FERS employee, you can make a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service. Your agency can help you do 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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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