Military buyback


Q. Is it possible to buy back military service credit even if I am not currently employed by the government? I may at some future date return to federal service, but not for several more years. My concern is that I would like to purchase my military service credit before I retire from the Army Reserve (one to two more years). My understanding is that once I retire from military service, I am no longer eligible to purchase military service credit. If it is possible to do this, who would I contact to begin the process? I was a FERS-covered employee from 1992 to 2012. I did not withdraw my retirement contributions when I left federal service. I have 10 years of active military service. I have not previously purchased any military service credit.
A. The only way you could make a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service is to return to work for the federal government. Note: Employees who are receiving either military retired pay or reserve retired pay are eligible to make a deposit to get credit for their active-duty service. However, as a rule, those receiving military retired pay must also waive their military retired pay when they retire from their civilian jobs.


About Author

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

1 Comment

  1. Eddy P. Mathieu on

    Mr. Jones,

    I am currently in the US Army Reserve. I have 135 days remaining before retirement.
    I was active Army from 1976 – 1980, Honorable Discharge. I came back to the Army Reserve in
    1996 till present. That is about 16 years of absence…none Army time.
    I heard that I can buyback those 16 years to boos/add more years to my current Military (20) years.
    Is that true or is that a fantasy (Unicorn)?

    Thank you and I appreciate your service to many.

    SFC Mathieu, Eddy P

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