Military service and retirement


Q. I am a reserve solder with 29 years of active duty and have six years until I am eligible for mandatory retirement. Upon completion of my current deployment, I will likely go back to a government civilian job. My understanding is that I can buy back all my years and do an additional 5-plus years of civilian service and retire with both checks intact. I can collect my military retirement when eligible and still work in a civilian capacity until I completely retire from the workforce. Is that correct?

A. Only active duty service which meets the definitions found at Sections 22A2.1-2D & E will be used to determine the amount of credit you get toward a civilian retirement. However, you are correct when you write that you would have to have at least 5 years of creditable civilian service to be vested in the retirement system. The only other element you need to consider is your age. Under FERS, minimum retirement ages for an immediate, unreduced annuity range from 55 to 57, depending on your year of birth.


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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

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