Military buyback and FERS annuity computation


Q. I have two questions about how buying back creditable military service affects the percentage multiplier toward a FERS pension (while it is my intention to work 20 years civil service, plus buying back creditable military service, how the multiplier normally should be implemented is important to me because I am unsure if I will be able to achieve 20 years of civil service alone due to health issues; thus, a general understanding through your column can inform my retirement planning).

First, does total service including a military creditable service buyback, meaning I will qualify for the 1.1 percent pension multiplier vs. normal 1 percent (example: 20 years civil service + eight years creditable military service = 28 years under FERS, and equating to a .231 multiplier)? Or do I need to ensure I have worked 20 years in the civil service to qualify for the 1.1 percent, regardless of what creditable military service buyback contributes (example: 13 years civil service + eight years creditable military service = 21 years under FERS, equating to a .21 multiplier)?

Also, under the first scenario but using different numbers, is a 1.1 percent multiplier applied only to the civil service portion of total service, or the total creditable service?

A. The .011 multiplier would be applied if you retire at age 62 or later and have at least 20 years of FERS service (actual and active-duty military service for which you’ve made a deposit).


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. I recently attended a FERS retirement seminar and was told that buying back my enlisted military retirement is a bad idea because it would be close to $40-50K. I have calculated my buy back on several online federal calculators and don’t come up with anything near that cost. I am calculating all of my active duty earnings from my entry date on active duty through my retirement date–20 years and 1 month. I have included the 10 years of interest I have accrued as well since I did not buy it back within my first 4 years of civil service. I have been collecting military retirement pay since November 2000. Am I also required to payback the retirement I have been receiving for the past 15 years as well? Any information you could provide would be helpful

    • While I don’t know how much you would need to deposit to get credit for that period of military service, the amount you were told seems unreasonably high. To get the correct amount, do the following. Complete OPM form RI 20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it, along with a copy of your DD 214, to the military finance center for your branch of service. When you receive that estimate, take it to your local payroll office, along copy of your DD 214 and a Standard Form 3108, Application to Make Deposit or Redeposit, and ask for an estimate of the deposit you owe, including interest. If you decide to make the deposit, you can do so in a lump sum or through a schedule of regular payments. You won’t be required to repay any of the military retirement you have already received. Instead, you may continue to receive that benefit. However, when you retire, you will be required to waive all future payments. If you don’t, that period of service will be eliminated, your deposit refunded, and your annuity based solely on your civilian employment.

      • Reg, I received my official military retirement buyback from DFAS and applied interest. At age 56, I will have 15 years of FERS employment. With the buyback I will have a total of 35 years. Is my FERs retirement computated on all 35 years or is there a percentage reduction for the 20 buyback years? Also, I’ll be eligible for the social security supplement. Will this supplement be based on all 35 years or just the 15 FERS employment years?

  2. jacob macaulay on

    You’ve just given me the info I was searching for. Thanks for the sharing, I also found a useful service for forms filling. You’ll forget about paperwork when you try PDFfiller. OPM SF 3108 can be filled out in 5-10 mins here

  3. I retired from the National Guard in 95, I just reached eligibility age 60. I am now receiving my retire pay. I have worked for the Federal government for 15 years and want to retire from the federal government. Can I buy back my military time, if I do will this affect my military retirement pay.

    • The rules governing National Guard pay and civilian retirement are complicated, you’ll have to check with your personnel office and, if necessary,the National Guard Bureau.

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