Q. If I complete 13 years of active duty in 2018 and tack on seven years of reserve duty until 2025, I will start receiving military retirement benefits for those 20 years at age 60. If I become a GS employee in 2018 and serve 20 years until I am 57, will I be able to receive my military retirement pension as well as my FERS pension? If I “make a contribution” (aka buy back those 13 years of active-duty service), will I have to forfeit the military retirement benefits because it will be rolled into the FERS?

A. If you keep those periods of service separate, you’ll be able to receive both your reserve retired pay and your civilian annuity, with no reduction in either. While making a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service will increase your total years of civilian service, it won’t have any effect on your military 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

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  1. Additional information for the poster: You can definitely make a deposit for the active duty years plus any additional active duty service you get DD-214’s for while serving ion the Reserves. As long as you do not qualify for an active duty “military” retirement, and only get a reserve retirement, you will not have to waive the reserve retirement pay, even if using the AD years towards your total civil service years for retirement. Whether you “buy” the years or not, if you submit all DD-214’s when hired, you get immediate credit for leave accrual purposes in civil service. However, if I understand you correctly, you would not be able to retire at 57 with a full unreduced ( immediate) annuity( I assume your MRA) with 20 years of service. You would be able to at 60. However, you might be able to retire at MRA if you have 30 years. Note that you have to have minimum 5 years of civilian service, but the military years can be added to that. ( I served 8 years ADAF and 20 years ANG, still in civil service).

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