Military buyback for CSRS retirement


Q. I’m still struggling with my military buyback time. I will be 58 in June; my service comp date is July 9. I’ll have 40 years of service, which includes my 3 years 11 months of military time and intend to retire by the end of December, which would give me another five months plus my sick leave. I have approximately 24 quarters paid into Social Security and to buy back my military time will cost me almost $5,000. I do plan on probably working part time but my question is, if I do not ever seek Social Security payments either when I’m eligible or even beyond that time, would it be worth my while to invest in the buyback option?

A. Here’s one fact that may help you to decide. Because you were first hired as a civilian before Oct. 1, 1982, you will get credit for your active-duty military service in determining your eligibility to retire and in your annuity computation even if you don’t make a deposit to the civilian retirement fund. OPM will only check once to determine if you are eligible for a Social Security benefit. If you retire before age 62, it will check at age 62. If you retire after you reach age 62, it will check then. So, for example, if you retire before age 62 and aren’t eligible at age 62, OPM will never check again. The same is true if you retire at age 62 and aren’t eligible then. It won’t check again.


About Author

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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