Q. I recently paid off my military buyback. Am I supposed to receive some type of form? Will it be reflected on my SF-50 or Leave and Earnings Statement? I currently work for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

A. Your agency will receive a Standard Form 3100 and put it in your official personnel folder. To be sure that has happened, you’ll have to check with your personnel office.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. V.A. payroll is processed through DFAS. If you paid off your military service deposit through payroll deduction, YOU have to request a “Paid in Full” letter through your DFAS CSR. This is generally the person you would go to for payroll problems. Once you get the Paid in Full letter, give a copy to HR and ask it be uploaded to your e-OPF. According to the DFAS website:

    “8.After you have paid your military deposit in full by check, money order or, your payroll office will send you a Paid-in-Full Letter. If your military deposit is paid-in-full by payroll deductions, you must request a Paid-in-Full Letter through your human resources office or Customer Service Representative (CSR).”

    I am assuming once you give the Paid in Full letter to HR, they SHOULD request the SF-3100 be generated. But as Reg said, follow up and make sure they do.

    • David McKay on

      Correct for the VA you need to have the person assisting your military buyback (HR or Payroll) request a Paid in Full letter be mailed to you once your military buyback is paid in full. Then you must get the letter scanned into your electronic personnel folder along with copies of other buyback paperwork and a copy of your leave and earnings statement showing your deposit is paid in full to complete the process.

      For the VA, box 20 of your leave and earnings statement “Military Deposit” shows both the amount you have paid and the amount you still owe. If your military deposit is paid in full, the amount next to the “OWED” line should be either BLANK or $0.00.

  2. and even though you do ALL stated above, when u go to retire, it will all surface again and please be ready to show ur paperwork to CYA cuz those HR’s are a bunch of idiots.

    • Great advise. Keep a paper copy of all your military buyback paperwork, especially Paid in Full letters + copy of leave and earnings statement with box 20 showing military buyback PAID IN FULL. Store these copies in a safe location along with your original DD 214 and other important papers.

      Even though you electronic personnel folder may show your paid in full letter was added sometimes it can just “disappear” just at the time you request retirement and your military time NOT added to your service computation!

  3. I echo Karen M’s comments. When I finally got my finalized (Blue Book) annuity, it was short the two years for which I had paid the military buyback. Luckily I had the Paid In Full letter because there was not other record except my cancelled check and OPM would not accept that as proof of payment

  4. Ernest Thompson on

    Mr. Jones, I was medically retired from th service with 17years of service. I currently work for the dept of veterans affairs and would like to know if I buy back my military time. How would this affect my disability retirement/ Would I lose it.. And please comment f this is a good idea or not as everyone keeps telling me nothing will happen to my retirement but I’m pretty nervous about this

    • Years of service have no affect on the amount an employee receives in his disability benefit. However, at age 62, your annuity would be recomputed. If you hadn’t made a deposit for that active duty time, those years wouldn’t be included in the computation.

  5. Charles Warren on

    Why to it takes so long to get your paid in full letter when you pay through I paid the total amount over a month ago and my LES is still showing I owe the amount.

    • Due to the effects of the pandemic, OPM, like every other federal agency, is running behind. They’ll eventually catch up and when they do your LES will be updated.

  6. how do you get Dfas to get your military buy back letter done. I requested the letter back in sept 15th of 21 and still haven’t got it back. I’ve waited the 30 working days and no one can give you a time when it will be processed. Its getting close to the end of the year and I would like to retire by Dec 31, 2021.

    • I’m reluctant to suggest it but if you don’t get that letter soon, you may have to write your member of Congress and ask him or her to intervene on your behalf.

  7. Ron, hopefully, they sent your letter in time and you retired. I also work for the VA they sent a ticket (work order) to DFAS requesting a paid in full letter although DFAS didn’t have any information on me. It may be helpful to email your local HR and continue to follow-up and maybe if needed go up the chain (i.e. supervisor/chief of HR if needed)
    Unfortunately, in my case I bought back my time back in 2001 before DFAS was in charge of this process. So for those of you that bought back your time before 2003 my HR has told me to contact OPM and ask them for a paid in full letter. Hopefully, i will receive one soon, especially since I don’t have any proof that I paid my military time back except for the payment i made for the deposit with a check at the payroll cashiers office. I did not keep the receipt and never got a paid in full letter or anything saying I bought my military time back. Luckily, they had a record of my payment so hopefully this will help. I thought this process was automatic (getting credit years for FERS retirement) once you bought your time back. However, it’s kind of a travesty especially if you have limited time until you retire or are involuntary retired or having to voluntarily quit the federal government and separate without completing this process.

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