Buying back LWOP


Q. I am a CSRS-offset employee planning to retire at the end of the year and trying to get all my ducks in a row.

While working for the Postal Service as an Army Reservist, I was on leave without pay for two months and six days in 1984, and four months and 19 days in 1994. I thought I would have to pay this time back in order to receive retirement credit. However, in the 2014 CSRS Retirement Planning Guide published by FEDweek, on page 40, I read, “A total of six months of LWOP (including furlough days) in any calendar year is considered to be creditable service. In other words, for calculating your length of service, it’s treated as if you had never been on leave. Further, you don’t have to make a deposit to get credit for that time.”

Does this mean I will be credited my time on LWOP for service and retirement?

A. It does if you were on LWOP. It doesn’t if you were on LWOP-US/ In other words, if you were called to active duty. In that case you must make a deposit to get credit for that time.


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 was out sick with cancer from 4/11/2008-8/8/2009 and return 8/92009 in between this time i was paid with some donated leave (33days) but most of the time frame from 4/11/2008- 8/8/2009 I was LWOP. I’m showing a total of 3265 hours of LWOP time. I was just told that the first 6 months within a calendrer year should be counted as credible service for employees covered by NALC. I’m showing at my actual retirement now (RTR)(29 years and 6 months for retirement effective 10/2021 and 4/5/1992 for 30 years and to qualify for my supplement. I was hoping to be at 30 years by 10/2021. My EOD date is 10/1/1994 and I brought back time of 2 years .9 months and 14 days, Can you help me compute this because I believe I was charged (LWOP) for the entire time I was out. My original (F- 50) showed an LWOP period of 3 months and 17 days but HRSS told me that what’s currently showing (3265) LWOP is correct and this total is a combination of various years. It appears to me that they didn’t take the 6 months into consideration per calendar year to count towards credible time yet they deducted all of the time from 4/11/2008-8/8/2009 and years afterwards. I want to retire and 10/1/2021 but want to get clarity on the 6 month LWOP rule for employees covered under NALC. I’m no longer a carrier but was back in 2008-2009. Would this affect my annuity/supplement would I be eligible earlier?

    • According to OPM, “An aggregate nonpay status of 6 months in any calendar year is creditable service.” Any hours, days, weeks or months that exceed 6 months in a calendar year aren’t creditable. Since each year stands alone, LWOP in one year can’t be added to LWOP taken in another year.

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