Military retired pay, FERS, VA disability


Q. I retired from the military with a 40-percent VA disability. I am now a government employee under FERS. If I buy back my military time and then retire under FERS, will I still receive my VA disability payments and, if so, will the VA payments be deducted from my FERS retirement in the same way as they are deducted from my military retirement today?

A. While you would have to waive your military retired pay when you retire from your civilian position, you wouldn’t have to waive your VA disability payments. They would have no affect on your FERS annuity.


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 too fall into this category, with the 40% disability and military retirement deduction. Is is beneficial to just cash in military time. Its got to be more than what I’m getting from my military retirement. I’m a government employee with 9 years and 21 years active duty.

    • You are asking for an opinion which we cannot give. You’ll have to consult a financial adviser, one who doesn’t have a stake in you decision.

  2. I recently (2 months ago) retired from the VA. I paid for a “military buyback” of 14 years. I spent slightly over 6 years in the VA (FERS) system. I completed my “out processing” for retirement and they set me up for an annuity (small but there) and told me my MHP insurance would be continued into retirement. Yesterday I got a letter from OPM saying I only had insurance continuity since JAN 1 2014. thus I didn’t meet the requirement for 5 yrs continuity. I was shocked that they declined my coverage. I have one question: Does my 14 years active military insurance weigh in on this. I thought I’d give this a shot out there.

  3. I have a 60% disability compensation rating and have almost 4 years of military service. I am now a FERS employee and considering buying back my military time. I was told by someone that if I did so, my VA disability would be affected when I start receiving a FERS annuity. Based on your comments above, I would like to confirm that this would not be true in my case. Thanks for any insight you can provide.

  4. Hello, I was rated 90% and 100% p&t unemployable in December 2017. Are my chances good that I will receive Opm retirement based on my unemployable rating? I have a total of 27 yrs total federal service. I have been off work two years.

    • What do you mean when you say that you’ve “been off work”? Have you been on annual leave, sick leave, leave without pay?

  5. Hello Sir,

    I am medically retired and receive VA Disability check. I am currently 80% (50% combat related). I have 14 years TIS. If i do a buy back and retire will my VA disability be affected?

    • First, are you medically retired from the armed services? If so, are you receiving military retire pay? Second, what does TIS mean?

  6. Good afternoon, I am drawing military retired pay for 21 years and 90% VA disability. I started under FERS last year. Will I be able to draw Military Retired Pay, VA Disability, FERS Retirement and Social Security benefits when I retire at age 62 in 17 years?

  7. Hello Reg,

    Have 16 years AGR/Tile 32 and was medically retired by the Air Force and have a 100 percent VA disability rating, which all is paid via VA, not the Air Force. I now have 11 years civil service, can I buy back any of my military service for civil service retirement?

    • Check with your local personnel office. If they aren’t certain, they can get an opinion from OPM about the creditability of that time.

  8. Mr. Jones,
    Retired from the Navy in 1994 and receive a monthly retirement. Then worked for DOD, but before I retired under FERS in OCT 2018, I bought back my military service time. I’ve already received my first annuity deposit which reflects the buy back. I am also receiving VA disability pay (70%). I see DFAS is still making deposits for my military retirement. Is this correct, I was told one stops receiving Mil retirement when buying back that time?

  9. I retired from the Air Force in 2000, and have been rated by the V.A. with 30% disability only, meaning the disability compensation that I am receiving from the V.A. is offset against my military retired pay. So, in reality, I am not getting an extra dollar (only lower taxes on my retired pay). The $503 monthly V.A. disability pay is deducted against my military retired pay.

    I’ve been a federal employee since 2005 and plan to retire at age 62 (in 3 years), so I can receive my full annuity. Since I bought back my active duty time (20 years, 5 months), how will the 30% disability compensation affect my civil service annuity when I retire from the federal service?

  10. Good evening, my question is, i served active 7 years, medical discharge and now get 80%. i am a fers employee with 22 years and i did buy back my time. when i retire with 30 years, will my FERS retirement be replaced with VA disability check? or will i still get my normal FERS and Va disability?

    Th ak you for your time

  11. I was medically retired from Army in Aug 2017 and started receiving retired pay Nov 2017. At that time I was a National Guard technician. I subsequently applied for Disability retirement from OPM (FERS) under public law 97-253 around Nov 2017 and was approved in June 2018. I recieved a lump sum from OPM in Aug 2018 and monthly interim payments from Sep 2018 to present. I also recieve 100% VA payments.

    I recently inquired to OPM as to when my OPM packet would be finalized and was told that I was missing form SF 3100 I then called DFAS to inquire about the form which I was told they generate. DFAS told me they have no record of civilian retirement processing only military retired pay. She then proceeded to tell me I cannot recieve both I have to send a letter requesting to waive my military retired pay. I did make partial payment on military deposit for FERS retirement but during my disability application process I submitted form 3106 requesting refund.
    Can I not receive both military retired pay and FERS disability if I dont make a deposit for buyback of military time served?
    Also what would be the difference if say I retired from the Army never working for the Federal govt in a civilian capacity before that and I take a job say with the FBI and i work 25 years for them or whatever it takes minimally to earn a retirement not making any buy back for military service, would I not be entitled to both?

    • Unless your military retired pay was awarded on account of a service-connected disability either incurred in combat with an enemy of the United States or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war, you would have to waive your military retired pay and make a deposit to the civilian retirement system to get credit for that time. If you don’t want to do that, you can retain your military retired pay and continue to work in your civilian position until you have the age and service needed to retire from it.

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