Military retired pay


Q. I was medically retired at 22 years and my retired pay is tax exempt due to my disability status. If I buy back my 22 years of military service toward civil service retirement (I am a GS grade), will my retired (disability) pay be affected?

A. Unless your military retired pay was awarded on account of a service-connected disability either incurred in combat with an enemy of the United States or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war, you would not only have to make a deposit to get credit for that time but waive 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


  1. Christina Wilson on

    Isn’t there a distinction from Active Duty (AD) Retirement and Civilian retirement, as opposed to Retirement from Reserves and Civilian service? My understanding is that if you retire from AD and civilian service you have to given up one retirement pension. However, if you retire from the reserves you can collect both?

    Further, please add to the social security (SS) answer, that if you collect SS as soon as you can, you’ll get a little less money but for a longer period of time, rather than waiting for the retirement age (70) to get more SS but may not live very much longer!

    • Yes, the roles are different for those who are receiving military retired pay and those who are receiving reserve retired pay. I point that out every time the question comes up. That distinction wasn’t relevant in this case. When called for, I do point out the difference between claiming Social Security benefits at age 62 or at full Social Security retirement age. However, since no one knows how long he or she will live, it’s a coin toss decision.

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