Q. I have 4.5 year of active duty in the Army. I retired from the Army National Guard after 22 years and have worked at the U.S. Postal Service for 2.5 years. I’m 50 years old. Should I do a buy back to add to my years at the post office so that I can retire in 10 years?

A. I can’t tell you whether you should make a deposit to get credit for your years of active duty service. What I can tell you is that you’ll first have to have 5 years of actual civilian service before you’d be vested in the retirement system. Only then would you be eligible for a retirement benefit. And that benefit would only be payable when you reach one of the following age and service combinations: 62 with 5 years of service
or 60 with 20 years of service at your minimum retirement age (MRA) with 30 years of service.

You could also retire at your MRA with 10 years of service; however, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under age 62 (age 60 if you had at least 20 years of service).

To learn the amount of the deposit you’d need to make to get credit for your active duty service, fill out a copy of the Application to Make Service Credit Payment (available at, and send it to the Office of Personnel Management. The address is on the form.


About Author

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


  1. You can buy back any Active Duty service as long as it qualifies and have DD-214’s, even if that was earned while serving in the Army National Guard ( activations, extended deployments, etc.) It just cannot be AD for Training. That will count towards your service credit as long as you get vested with at least 5 years of civil service.

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