Military buyback


Q. I am a newer federal employee with nine years active duty in the Marine Corps. I intend on buying back my military time toward retirement. If I choose to leave to federal service before retiring, can I request a refund of the money paid back for my military service?  Also, I understand that I have up to two years to pay this amount off interest free. If I were to wait, say, six or seven years and pay a lump sum of the amount instead of installments, would I be charged any sort of interest?

A. If you leave federal service after having made a deposit, you could get a full refund plus accrued interest. If you don’t complete the deposit before the end of the interest-free period, interest will begin accruing and compounding on the amount you owe. No breaks are given for making the payment in a lump sum.


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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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