Buy back


Q. I am about submit my medical retirement paperwork on Jan. 10, 2017. Will I be able to buy back my military time (1983-1986) after submitting my retirement paper work? Do you happen to know the amount I would have to pay? I was hired in 2003 and will be retiring in 2017 from Customs and Border Protection.

A. You can only get credit for that time if you complete the deposit before your disability application is received by Office of Personnel Management. To find out what you would owe, you’ll have to do the following. Complete OPM form RI 20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it, along with a copy of your DD 214, to the military finance center for your branch of service. When you receive that estimate, take it to your payroll office, along with copies of your DD 214 and a Standard Form 3108, Application to Make Service Credit Payment, and ask for an estimate of the amount you’d owe, plus accrued interest. Once you have that information, you can decide if the benefit is worth the cost. (The OPM and Standard forms are available for download at; click on Forms.)


About Author

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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