Army Reserve retirement buyback


Q. I am a 48-year-old Army Reserve retiree (Gray Area). I was mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and was medically flagged during mobilization as being asthmatic and ultimately unfit for duty. After a Medical Evaluation Board, the Physical Evaluation Board offered for me to accept an early retirement in lieu of a disability separation.

Unfortunately, I was retired as an E-4 with 16 years, 2 months, 7 days of combined service and a total of 2,524 points . The breakdown is 4 years active duty Marine Corps 1983-1987, and Army Reserve 1992-2003 with one additional year of active duty from those eleven years for a total of 5 years active duty. I cannot collect my USAR pension until age 60. Since my reserve retired pension will only be about $425 a month in today’s dollars ($585 in 2025), would it possible (or beneficial) to pursue federal employment and buy back my Reserve retirement rather than let it stay as is for 12 more years and collect the small reserve retirement pension at age 60 and then Social Security at age 65-70? I have more than 20 years private-sector civilian experience but with no retirement accounts to fall back on.

A. If you got a civilian job with the federal government, you’d get credit for your active-duty service in determining your annual leave accrual rate; however, you’d only get credit for that service in determining your retirement benefits if you made a deposit to the retirement system.


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  1. And he would also be able to collect his Reserve retirement at age 60, in addition to whatever FERS retirement he eventually earns.

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