Deposit for active duty service

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Q. I have already served all my military time active duty and reserves which will equal 20 years. I work for the VA (FERS) and bought back my active duty time (16 years) before I knew I was eligible for a military retirement too. The whole object is to have two retirements, one military/one VA. The VA says no, that once military time is paid for, it belongs to them and can only be used for a VA retirement.

A. The VA has no role in the matter. Those rights are reserved to the Department of Defense and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. If, as it appears, you will be receiving reserve retired pay, you can get credit for your active duty service toward your civilian retirement by making a deposit to the civilian retirement system. Doing so will have no affect on your reserve retired pay. Likewise, if you will be receiving military retired pay, you can get credit for your active duty service toward your civilian retirement by making a deposit to the civilian retirement system. However, at retirement, you would have to waive your military retired pay. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t get any credit toward your civilian retirement and your deposit would be returned to you, with accrued 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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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