Service credit


Q. I’m a FERS employee. Before I got a career position, I was in a temporary appointment for a year. I’ve been told that I could buy back my temp time by making a deposit to the retirement system. Is that true?

A. Unfortunately, no. Under FERS, periods of non-deduction service performed on or after Jan. 1, 1989, aren’t creditable for either length of service or annuity computation purposes.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. My SF-2803 (Application to Make Deposit) and SF-2801-1 (Certified Summary of Federal Service) was prepared and approves by my agency. Do they forward it to OPM even the Deposit wasn’t paid yet. Because I change my mind, I will not ask my agency to credit my non-citizen base worker employment. Is it possible? Thanks

    • The fact that you haven’t made a deposit – and don’t intend to do that – nullifies the application you made. When you let your personnel office know of your decision, they’ll retrieve and cancel the paperwork.

      • Sir, I prefer not to pay deposits to exempt from Windfall Elimination Provision. If these services were nullifies. Am I gonna be back to FERS? I’m currently CSRS Offset.

        • The windfall elimination provision applies solely to CSRS or CSRS Offset employees who have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. You can’t make a deposit to get credit to exempt yourself from the WEP. You’ll continue to be covered by CSRS Offset regardless of whether you earn enough Social Security credits to be exempt from the WEP or you don’t.

          • Robert Samuel Foley on

            You stated that the WEP is solely applicable to CSRS or CSRS offset, Please advise me how might you interpret this unusual situation. Can a FERS civilian service deposit subject one to WEP ?

            I am presently fully retired. At age 62 years, I applied for both Social security retirement benefits and a FERS federal deferred annuity. I only have 25 years total of substantial social security earnings, mostly from State and Federal government covered employment, and none from private sector work.

            In 2014, I made a FERS civilian service deposit for 17 months of a V. A. medical hospital residency (non- deduction, intermittent employment) performed July 1,1986 – December 31,1988 and my retirement code at that time was (2, FICA). I was not CSRS offset at that time. During this residency I did not have any retirement contributions or FICA taxes withheld from my earnings.

            I subsequently became a full time federal employee in 1990-94 and 2013-14 both under FERS, and earned a total of 4.5 years of FERS civilian service time. Prior to resigning my position, I placed a service deposit for a portion of the non-deduction, intermittent residency time to gain title to a FERS deferred annuity collected when I turned age 62 years. Social security is now suggesting to apply the WEP for the 17 months of non-deduction intermittent residency service time.

            Given that FERS is covered employment, should the FERS deferred annuity be subject to WEP based on a FERS service deposit ? Thank you, RSF

          • According to the Social Security Administration, “If you work for an employer who doesn’t withhold Social Security taxes from you salary, any retirement or disability pension you get from that work can reduce your Social Security benefit. Such an employer may be a government agency or an employer in another country.” To see how that will affect your retirement benefit, go to

          • Regarding the topic of WEP and CSRS, my first federal intermittent hire date was 7/01/86, as CSRS interim, not offset, and was automatically covered by FERS in 1987.

            I recently requested from OPM a breakdown of my federal service used in the computation of my FERS deferred annuity.

            01/01/87 – 12/23/87 (VA – FERS TEMP covered)
            01/01/88 – 07/01/88 (VA – FERS TEMP covered
            07/01/90 – 06/30/94 (VA – FERS – covered)
            11/17/13 – 05/16/14 (VA – FERS- covered)
            CSRS TOTAL 5 years, 11 months, 24 days.

            Assuming the last line is not a typo, how can all FERS covered employment result in CSRS ? Since all individual employment years are listed as FERS covered, is WEP even applicable ?

            Thank you.

  2. The answer to the original poster’s question should have been “If your temporary service was performed before 1989, it is possible you could buy that time.” I could have written that post (with the change to two months temporary appointment). My temporary position was in 1976, so it qualified. I bought back that time in 2015, almost 40 years later. I don’t see any reference in the original question as to when the service was performed, so it’s possible it was before 1989.

  3. Pam Stanberry on


    I am a reservist. I bought back my active duty military time in 2006 which changed my SCD to April 2005. This year 2020 I bought back my recent active military time. Will my SCD change again to reflect the recent buyback?

    Thank you,
    Pamela Stanberry


    I am a army veteran I bought my active duty time back, and I want it to know if I could buy back my reserve time witch is 11 years thank you

      • REG:

        For clarification Reserve Time means your “weekend drill pay” Active duty time “on orders” counts as credible.


        I see people get confused on this point often and wanted to clarify.



        • Time when you are called to active duty, such as for the two-week annual active duty for training period, does count. Weekend drill time does not count.

  5. I have several months of non career work with the USPS that was performed in 1985. What is the interest rate on the by back and how is it factored? Thank you.

    • To find out how much you would owe, including accrued interest, you’ll need to fill out a CSRS Standard Form 2803 (Application to Make Deposit or Redeposit) or FERS Standard Form 3108 (Application to Make Service Credit Deposit) and send it to OPM. The address is on the form.

  6. I am a postal employee who was out on OWCP for 9 years for accepted permanent partial on the job injury as well as accepted disabilty retirement in which i elected owcp , i was then offered a 8hr limited duty position which i accepted but there is only 2hrs a day of work within my medical restrictions and put in lwop status for remainder of day which owcp pays. when i reach 57 in 2026 and want to retire will i be credited for all the time on OWCP ? I read somewhere i need to return for 5 years full service but im only working 2 hrs a day, will that effect my credited time for calculating my annuity at 57 ? i started working for postal service in 1991 ?
    what happens with all the money i lost from not being able to contribute to ss and thrift savings ?

  7. With covid I am leaving teaching in NJ I have 8 yr in the teachers pension annuity fund of nj, I have 8 months in the fire police retirement system I have not purchased while in the nj tpaf. Can I work for the USPS as city carrier, combine all 3? Or transfer usps back to NJ tpaf? Or pers?

    • If the Postal Service will hire you and you work long enough and reach the right age, you would be entitled to an federal annuity. Since we are only qualified to answer questions about federal benefits, we don’t know if you would be entitled to any state and local benefits.

      • So there isn’t a buy back for state retirement systems? Only military? I was misinformed? I know after 3 yr nj makes you take back your pension contribution. No interest! After 9 yr accrued?

        • If you are asking if you can make a deposit to get credit for state and and local service in a federal annuity, the answer is no.

  8. My birthday is October 29. Can I retire on October 3 which will also include October on the computation of my annuity and length of service? Thanks

    • As long as you have the right combination of age and service to retire, you can leave on any day of the month you want to. However, it would make better financial sense to retire at end of a pay period so you’ll get credit for all the annual and sick leave you earned during those last two weeks.


    I worked for 4 years a temp. for the Farm Service Agency 2004-2008 when will there be a Law change by congress so I can buy back my time in service? who can I contact to get results?

    • I’m not aware of any effort currently underway to do that. You’ll need to contact your member of congress and senator and let them know that you want the law changed.

  10. I am confused… I was on active duty in the Army from 1994-1997, and involuntary inactive reserves from 1997-2002 because of no Reserve component having my most within 50 miles of my permanent address.
    I came into federal service in 2012-2016 and earned career tenure (3 years). I had to tend to a family health emergency with a parent, so had to go home in Jan 2016, but had career established so I figured I was good. Also, I found a term position to go into which lasted from Jan 2016 – Oct 2018 where it ended. My last sf50 shows a tenure change to 3 indefinite so I am confused. They also changed my 5pt vet pref status to none. I am unsure if they were trying to keep from converting me to permanent or what, but they hired me with it and I was already career coming in. My question is 1) is it allowed / normal practice to change a vet pref status before a conversion because it doesn’t feel right, 2) Do you lose career because of accepting a term position?, 3) how do I correct it if it’s not accurate? , and 4) does the involuntary inactive count anywhere or can be bought back? Not being knowledgeable may have cost me, but I hope all the work is not lost.. Any insight is greatly appreciated!!

    • Here are the criteria for receiving 5 point veterans preference:

      A 5-point preference eligible is a veteran whose discharge or release from active duty in the armed forces was under honorable conditions and service meets the following criteria:
      1. During a war; or
      2. During the period April 28, 1952 through July 1, 1955; or
      3. For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976; or
      4. During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through January 2, 1992; or
      5. For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on August 31, 2010, the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom; or
      6. In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge, including Afghanistan (Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF), Iraqi Freedom (OIF)), Bosnia (Operations Joint Endeavor, Joint Guard, and Joint Forge), Global War on Terrorism, Persian Gulf, and others may qualify for preference.
      The veteran must have been discharged under an honorable or general discharge.

      If you fit into one of those categories then you are entitled to 5 point preference. No one can take that away from you. If you don’t, then you wouldn’t be entitled to preference.

      Service credit can only be given when you are in an active duty status, excluding weekend drills. Also excluded are two-week active duty for training periods, for which you are treated as if you were still on the job. To get credit for other periods of active duty service, you have to make a deposit to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. Your agency can show you how to do that.

      Because your period of term employment occurred on or after Jan. 1, 1989, it isn’t considered creditable service and you can’t make a deposit to make it so.

  11. I took a buyout from usps in 2010. I would like to apply to a usda job. I also cashed the little bit of retirement I had. Will my 10 years at the usps apply towards the usda job or have I just lost those?

    • Yes, your prior years of service will count and be used to set your annual leave accrual rate. However, if you don’t redeposit the money you cashed out, that time won’t be counted when determining your years of service needed to retire.

Leave A Reply