Purchase of active duty time toward FERS


Q. I have been a civilian employee with the Army for four and a half years, and I am receiving mixed information on my ability to purchase my military active duty time towards my FERS. I’m currently in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and am scheduled to retire in September 2015. I have 17 and a half years of Total Active Federal Military Service (TAFMS) time, which is a combination of active duty from being full-time Air Force, coupled with active duty performed as an activated Air Guardsman and Air Force Reservist post 9/11. I’ve been told from various representatives at the Army Benefits Center that as long as I have not retired from the Reserves yet, I can purchase my active duty time to be applied towards my FERS, while still being able to retire from the Air Force Reserve.

Ultimately, I’m being told I will be able to collect from both retirements. I’ve also been told verbally from my local Civilian Personnel Administration Center (CPAC), that if I purchase my military time, I forfeit my military retirement. I don’t want to risk forfeiture of my military retirement at all, but if I’m able to purchase my active duty time, I’m on limited time due to my military retirement from the Air Force Reserve being scheduled for this coming September. I’ve already sent in my form RI 20-97 for estimated earnings from the Air Force two months ago but have not received it back.

If I am able to purchase my military time and still have both retirements, do I have to have the time purchased prior to my Reserve retirement date, or before I begin to receive a retirement check?

A. Yes, you can make a deposit to get credit for any period of active duty service (excluding weekend drills or annual active duty for training). And you can make that deposit any time before you retire from your civilian job. Making the deposit would have no affect on your entitlement to reserve retired pay.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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