Buying back FERS active duty time


Q. I served five years and 11 months in U.S. Navy between 1992-1997 and was recently hired to work for the VA. Would my active duty time be applied towards my retirement, or do I need to “buy back” that time?

A. You won’t get any retirement credit for your active duty service unless you make a deposit for it. And the sooner you do that, the better. If you complete the deposit in fewer than three years, you won’t be charged any interest.


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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

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