Service academy time and accrued leave (updated)

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Q: I began working in the federal government in August 2008. I am currently buying back 13 years of military service: nine years in the Marine Corps and four years at the Naval Academy. I understand once I complete the military service buy-back I will have 13 years added to my creditable service date for retirement purposes.

My leave service computation date currently reflects the nine years of Marine Corps service plus my 1.5 years as civilian employee. As a result, I am earning six hours of leave per pay period. I questioned my human resources department as to why my leave SCD does not reflect all of my creditable military service I am buying back. My HR department stated that service academy time is creditable for retirement purposes but is not creditable for leave purposes.

This may be correct. However, it does not seem very logical. To date, no one from my HR department can produce the reference that confirms this policy. Can you tell me if my HR department is correct, and can you let me know where I could find this reference?

A: Your HR office was mistaken. According to OPM, Section 1115 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 made academy time creditable for retirement purposes and, by extension, leave accrual purposes. That service is creditable both prospectively and restrospectively.

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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.

2 Comments

  1. Hello-

    I am an HR Specialist with the USAF at AFPC. I believe I can clear this up fpr all of you.

    Military Academy service is creditable for both retirement and leave purposes when computing service computation dates IAW with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2008, Section 1115.

    Military Academy service includes service as a cadet at the United States Military Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, or the United States Coast Guard Academy, or as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. It is considered active military service for leave accrual and retirement credit purposes, regardless of whether the person graduated or was commissioned. For military retirees, their academy service is subject to the same credit limitations for leave and retirement purposes as is their other military service.

    Below are examples of acceptable documents that may be submitted to claim creditable academy service:
    * Academy Diploma/Transcripts
    *Military Orders (if any) showing dates of attendance
    *DD-214
    *Letter from military personnel office/flight showing dates of attendance

    Hope this helps,

    -D

  2. Academy Grads:

    I have asked the same question to my HR folks and received the below response. It is not clearcut, but at least the references are included for further research:

    Academy service time is creditable for both retirement and leave purposes as a Federal Civilian employee. Section 1115 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2008 is the applicable provision of law that makes academy service time creditable for retirement-and therefore for leave accrual purposes. Section 1115 of the NDAA amended title 5 to explicitly make academy service time creditable towards retirement. 5 United States Code (U.S.C.) 6303 (a) provides that service which is creditable for retirement purposes is creditable for determining an employee’s years of service for leave accrual purposes.

    Here is the title 5, chapter 63 reference–

    5 U.S.C. 6303 (a)-
    “. . . In determining years of service, an employee is entitled to credit for
    all service of a type that would be creditable under section 8332, regardless of whether or not the employee is covered by subchapter III of chapter 83, and for all service which is creditable by virtue of subsection (e). However, an
    employee who is a retired member of a uniformed service as defined by section 3501 of this title is entitled to credit for active military service only if–

    (A) his retirement was based on disability–
    (i) resulting from injury or disease received in line of duty as a direct result of armed conflict; or
    (ii) caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in line of duty during a period of war as defined by sections 101 and 1101 of title 38;

    (B) that service was performed in the armed forces during a war, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized; or

    (C) on November 30, 1964, he was employed in a position to which this subchapter applies and thereafter he continued to be so employed without a break in service of more than 30 days. . . .”

    In your case since you are retiring from the Army, unless your retirement meets A, B, or C above you would not be able to receive credit for leave accrual for your academy service.

    Information regarding service computation dates may be found at the following
    websites:
    http://www.opm.gov/feddata/gppa/gppa06.pdf
    http://www.opm.gov/oca/leave/html/annual.asp
    http://www.opm.gov/oca/leave/html/CreditableService-forAnnualLeaveAccrual.asp

    Public Law 97-253, dated Sept. 8, 1982, provided federal employees the opportunity to buy into the civil service retirement fund for military service performed after 1956.

    Mika-can you post your OPM email.

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