Military retirement + civilian retirement


Q. I left active duty after 14 years and joined the reserves. Due to my specialty in certain investigations (CID agent), I was involuntary mobilized prior to obtaining a civilian (1811) job. I was mobilized for four continuous years, bringing my active-duty time to 18 years. Once off active duty, I was able to report for my first day of work as an 1811 in the GS. Since I was not eligible for active-duty retirement, I was able to use my 18 years for sick/vacation time. My unit is planning to mobilize this year (for a year), and my plan is to mobilize and hope to stay on until reaching 20 active-duty years, thereby clinching an active-duty retirement. If I buy the 18 years back now for the GS civilian job, and then I mobilize for two years, would I be eligible for the active-duty retirement since I will have reached 20 years?

A. Here are the basic rules: If you are employed by the federal government, you can make a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service. If you do, it will be included when determining your total years of service and used in the computation of your annuity. If you are entitled to military retired pay, you’ll have to waive that pay when you retire from your civilian job. If you don’t, the deposit you made will be returned to you.

Any rules governing the granting of military retired pay will have to be answered by your branch of service.


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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