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.

6 Comments

  1. I did 17yrs 8 months active duty Army and was medically retired and being compensated thru the VA. I just started working with the VA in Feb 2016. I was credited for 6 years as a civilian with DOD making my Service Comp date 2010. I sent off my documents requesting buyback information. What is the maximum time that I am allowed to buy back and how would that propel me to an earlier retirement? Thank you.

    • You can continue to buyback your active duty service time for as long as you are an employee of the federal government. Just be aware that interest is added to the remaining balance every year. Making that deposit would increase your length of civilian service by 17 years and 8 months. If you were age 60, you’d be able to retired with a combined service of 20 years; at your minimum retirement age with 30. Note: Because you are retired from active duty, you may have to waive your military retired pay when you retire from your civilian job.

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