Paying back the government


Q: I was drafted in January 1966 spent 1967 in Vietnam. I have been a civil servant with the Defense Department since April 1985. I’m 63 and would like to retire in the next 3 years. To have the 18 months of my Vietnam service added to my retirement, I have to pay back with interest the money I made during those 18 months. Why does the government hate me so much for going to Vietnam, that they would want all their money paid back with interest?

A: For Federal Employees Retirement System employees, there are no exceptions to the rule that a deposit plus accrued interest must be paid to the retirement system to get credit for any time for which an employee hasn’t contributed to the retirement system.

— Reg Jones


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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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