Q. I am 37 and have been in the Navy 20 years. I have begun the hiring process with the U.S. Border Patrol. I am an E-8. Should I try and buy back my years in military, which should cost about $8,000? Can I defer receipt of military retirement until I retire from the Border Patrol?
I am also curious about the amount of buyback. Is it based on my rate of E-8 or on the total amount I made? Due to my billet and frequent deployments, I made twice what the base pay might be. I spent a lot of time at sea or in combat. I understand the “85 Rule.” Will that apply to my retirement age? Will I have to work at least 20 years with USBP, retire at 57 or even older? The only reason I have thought about deferring my military retirement is because of the benefits of being a military retiree.
A. If you are currently entitled to military retired pay, you can continue to receive it even while employed by the federal government. You would only need to waive that pay if you want to combine that service with your civilian service, and then only when you retire from your civilian job. Waiving your military retired pay would have no affect on your other earned benefits while in the military. Note: If you are (or will be) receiving reserve retired pay, you would only need to make a deposit to get credit for that time.
In either case, the amount you would have to deposit to get credit for that time is based on the entire amount of base pay you received while on active duty. If you make that deposit within three years minus one day, no interest would be charged.
There is no “85 Rule” in the federal government. You simply have to meet the age and service requirements to retire: 62 with 5 years of service, 60 with 20, or at your minimum retirement age with 30. You could also retire at your minimum retirement age with l0; however, you annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you are under age 62. Note : Your MRA is 57.
Reg Jones is away until May 2. Daily posts of previously submitted questions will continue, while newer queries will be answered following his return.