Q. I served four years in the Navy from 1989-2003; right now, I work for the U.S. Postal Service as a ptf city carrier. If the post office cuts back to a five-day workweek, they will do layoffs. So, should I buy back my four years of service because that would put me at seven years of service and I think it takes seven years to keep from getting laid off. And, of course, what would be the cost of the buyback? The post office told me I had three years from my hire date to pay no interest and that would be June 2010.

A. It’s up to you to decide whether you should make a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service. The amount you’d need to pay would be 3 percent of your basic military pay, excluding any differentials or allowances. To start the ball rolling, you’ll need to complete Form RI 20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it to the finance center for your branch of service along with a copy of your DD Form 214, Report of Transfer or Discharge. When the answer comes back, take it, a Standard Form 3108, Application to Make Deposit or Redeposit, and a copy of your DD 214 to your local payroll office. They’ll calculate what you owe and make arrangement for you to make the deposit, if you decide that’s what you want to do. Note: You can get copies of the RI 20-97 and SF 3108 from your personnel office or download them by going to and clicking on Forms.


About Author

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

Leave A Reply