Retirement and penalties


Q. I am planning to retire ASAP but am working out a few issues. I do not want the early retirement penalty (5/12 percent per month) to impact my retirement compensation so understanding how my military time rolls toward my retirement will dictate when I can retire. I will have 27 years of FERS service and four years of paid military time. I will have met my MRA of 57.6 yrs. Does my military credit count toward the 30 years required service time or does my military time only count toward my annuity computation? If it only counts toward the annuity computation, then that will mean that I would need a total of 30 federal civil service years to retire, correct?

A. No. it isn’t correct. Your annuity will be based on your combined years of civilian and military service. However, your special retirement supplement will be based solely on your years of civilian service. FYI, the early retirement penalty, which won’t apply to you, is 5/12ths of  1 percent per month, not 5 1/2 percent per month.


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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. Art Carandang on

    Hi- I submitted my military (USN Reserve) and federal retirement applications in January, 2019 and April 2019 respectively. I bought back my military time. So far, both are still being processed as of 6/21. Today, I received an email from OPM asking me if I am already receiving military pension. I told them not yet and I asked what is impact of receiving military pension to my federal pension? She said that both agencies cannot pay for the same time served. I didn’t know that my military pension as a USNR will impact my federal pension. Can you please enlighten me?

    • Since you bought back your active duty time, that time will be included in determining your length of service and in your annuity computation. Your reserve retire pay has no affect on a civil service annuity. You can receive both with no reduction in either. P.S. If you are a FERS employee, your active duty years won’t be included when determining your special retirement supplement.

  2. In your case, your four years of active duty time – which you have made a deposit for – will count towards both your years of FERS service as well as toward your FERS annuity. This will push you over the 30 year mark for your MRA – therefore no retirement penalty.

    Specifically, at your MRA of 57.6 years, you will have 31 years of FERS service and will receive an immediate and unreduced annuity. You will receive 31% of your high-three.

    Your special supplement, however, will reflect only your 27 years of actual FERS service.

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