Military deposits


Q. I was told I would have to give up my military retirement. I did 5 1/2 years active duty, then 27 years of reserves and retired in 2010 with 33 years of service. I am looking forward to receiving my military retirement in November 2018, but probably will retire from civil service next year. I bought back those 5.5 years…not really sure how this is going to work now!

A. Since you are receiving reserve retired pay, you only need to make a deposit for any active duty time if you want to get credit for it in your annuity computation. On the other hand, employees who are receiving military retired pay and want to get credit for that time in their annuity computation must not only make a deposit but also waive that 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


  1. I believe if he is going to lose his Reserve Military pension that he can still request a refund for the 5 1/2 years of active service he bought back prior to his Military retirement commencing in November so as to preserve his Military retirement! Assuming he is 60-61 years old, he can also still retire from Fed Civil Service next year as planned if he will still have over 20 years of FERS Civil Service after the 5 1/2 years of active military Time is removed from his FERS retirement computation. If he has LESS than 20 years of FERS Civil Service time at age 60/61, he can wait till age 62 to retire since you only need 5 years FERS Civil Service time to retire.

    • He does not need to give up his military pension. That only applies to those who retired from Active Duty and want to use the military time in the computation of their Civil Service pension. If you retired as a Reservist, you can buy back any AD time, like he has, and keep the Reserve pension plus a full Civil Service pension.

      • Thanks Pat for setting everyone straight. There is a big difference between Active Duty Retirement and Reserve Retirement and that is Title 10 Chapter 1223 – 12736 and the fact that the USG makes us wait until we are 60 in order to get both. We deserve both after such a long wait

  2. Apparently someone at this persons HR department told them they’d lose their reserve pension if they bought their active duty time back. Hopefully Reg can email this person back with a link to the pertinent OPM rule stating that this person can keep both his full reserve pension and can keep the AD time they bought back in their FERS retirement calculation for civil service retirement to show the likely HR person that THEY CAN KEEP his full reserve retirement +FERS retirement!!

  3. Why would a person forfeit their active duty retirement for civil service retirement? Don’t you lose all your active duty retired benefits when you do that are just the time and monthly pension? Just seems counterintuitive to me to give up an AD retirement for a CS retirement

    • When you waive your active duty retired pay, you continue to be entitled to all your other military benefits.

  4. If you buy back your military time, at what point would you stop receiving your active duty military retirement pay?

      • OK, then I am correct in understanding that you would NOT have to give up your military retired pay PRIOR to actually retiring from federal civilian service? It is possible to receive it up until that point of civilian retirement.

        How would that impact the military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) that many have opted for at time of military retirement? And the civilian version?


        • Yes, you are correct. If you want your active duty service to be included in your civilian annuity computation, you won’t have to give up your military retired pay until you are ready to retire. To the best of my knowledge (and what others in your situation have told me), waiving your military retired pay won’t have any affect on your Service Benefit Plan. As for “the civilian version,” I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Your annuity? Your FEHB and/or FEGLIplan coverage?

          • Sorry, I meant the civilian (FERS) Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). Just wanting to see if I would only be able to have the one, which is my understanding once combining retirement plans.

            I understand that the FERS SBP is at a lower percentage, but that will be compensated by a increased number of years calculate for retirement computation by buying active service time into FERS.

            Thank you again, for the verification that I would not have to give up active duty military retirement (if bought into FERS) until retiring from federal civilian employment.

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