Waiving military pay

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Q. I am a recently retired regular army officer. If I accept a GS position with the government, will I forfeit some of my retirement?

A. The choice is up to you. If you take that job, you’ll have the option of making a deposit to the civilian retirement system to get credit for your active-duty service in determining your years of civilian service and have it used in your annuity computation. Then when you retired from your civilian job, you’d have to waive your military retired pay. Doing so would have no affect on any other benefits you are entitled to as a retired member of the military. On the other hand, if you decided not to make a deposit and waive your military retired pay, your eligibility to retire from your civilian job and the amount of your annuity would be based solely on your civilian service.

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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

5 Comments

  1. The bottom line is there are no cookie cutter solutions to this question. You have to run the numbers for your exact situation. A good rule of thumb is if you retired from the military at a lower salary, and then rose to civil service at a much higher grade, it may make sense to do the deposit. For example, if you retired as an E7 from the Army after 20 years and then you landed a GS-13 job with ultimate promotion potential to a GS15, it would probably be beneficial to make the deposit. YMMV.

  2. Connie Gingrich on

    What about if you have reserved time and active duty time? Do you buy both or only active duty time. And does that time get subtracted from your reserve retirement? In other words if I have 11 years active duty and 9 years reserve and I buy back my active duty time do I still get 20 years retirement pay as a reserves?

    • You may make a deposit to get credit for any active duty service. Reserve time only counts if you were called to active duty in the service of the United States. Weekend drills never count, nor does annual active duty for training. Making a deposit to get credit for your active duty service would have no affect on your reserve retired pay.

      • I am a GS employee, and I have been told that if I buy my 11 years of active duty time (active duty contracts and deployments time where a DD214 was issued, out of the 24yr total years in service) that I would have to waive my reserve retirement pay that I would collect when I reach my eligible Reserve-Retirement age. Is this correct? IF NOT, where in the code or policies that state that I can buy my 11 years and boost my FERS retirement and collect my Reserve-Retirement pay when I reach my Reserve-Retirement age? If I had that guidance perhaps I could provide it to the powers that be, there is so much confusion out there.

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