Military service coverage


Q: I served three years in the Army from December 1976 to December 1979. After my Army years, I worked for the government under the Civil Service Retirement System from January 1980 to December 1990.

I left civil service in 1990 and returned in 1996. I am now under the Federal Employees Retirement System. In 1999, I wanted to payback my military time and was told that since I was under FERS I would pay it back under FERS rules. I paid $530 for my three years. In 2000, I was told that when I was hired I should have been given the choice of being under CSRS Offset or FERS. I elected to stay under FERS. The personnel staffer told me I should have paid my military time back under CSRS rules, so my amount was recalculated and I paid back a little more than $4,000 over the next three years, which I was told would be credited under CSRS rules. I am approaching retirement in about two years so I asked personnel for a retirement estimate. The staffer who did the estimate has my Army years under FERS rules. Everything I read in the CSRS/FERS handbook says I should be credited under CSRS rules not FERS. I sent a letter to the Office of Personnel Management for clarification but since I am not yet retired they couldn’t help me. I would like to find out before I retire what is the correct retirement system my military time will be credited to. Can you help?

A: What you read in the CSRS and FERS Handbook for Personnel and Payroll Offices is true. If active duty service occurs before (or during the time) someone is covered by CSRS, that time is credited under CSRS rules.


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