Federal firefighter retirement, military service


Q: I am a Federal Firefighter. I was hired in 1986 and will retire under the Federal Employees Retirement System. My question revolves around my active-duty military service deposit to the federal retirement fund. Since I have made this deposit and am in good standing to receive compensation for this time; my question is; can I apply it to help determine the length of my service in order to fulfill the 25-year requirement?

As a federal firefighter, I am subject to the special retirement for law enforcement officers, firefighters and air traffic control personnel. I cannot get a consistent or clear answer to my question: Can I count my military time (which I have bought back) into my “credible service”? I have asked for a decision on this matter in writing several times to several different “experts” and have yet to receive an answer which any of them could substantiate with anything more than personal opinion. They have all assured me that I can’t.

At this point I have accepted the idea that I will not be able to count my active-duty military time into my “credible service.” However, I would truly appreciate omeone who can articulate a viable explanation on this matter and may be able to provide me with a sense of closure and peace of mind. I would like to be assured that I am being treated fairly and consistently in regards to the actual FERS intent.

A: The only way you could get credit for your active-duty military service as covered firefighter service is if it interrupted that firefighter service. For example, if you were in a covered positiion, were called to active duty and then returned to a covered position, you would receive credit. If your military service preceded or followed your covered service, then it can’t be used to qualify you to retire under more generous firefighter retirement rules.


About Author

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

1 Comment

  1. Federal firefighter retirement.

    1) 20 yrs age 50
    2) 25 yrs any age

    Military time does not count towards 20 or 25 yrs. Must be time spent in the fire dept as federal employee. The other requirment is you must start as a fire fighter on the floor working shifts. Not as fire inspector or chief or a/c or anything in a managment postion. You must work three yrs on the floor prior to accepting these positions.

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