Q: I have several questions, but before I ask them let me provide some background. I am about to take a position as a new hire as a GS13 in September. I am 54 and plan to work until I am 62 or older. I have 16.8 years of military service which begun in May 1980. I took early retirement in January 1997 and draw military retired pay. I am a 90 percent disabled veteran and I receive VA disability compensation as result of what the VA considers a service-connected disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the U.S. or on account of a service-connected disability caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war. I have been trying to understand the CSRS/FERS Creditable Military Service Manual, Chapter 22, Section 22A3.1-3 Condition: Waiver of Military Retired Pay and how it applies to my situation. As I understand the information I included below from Section 22A3.1-3, I can get credit for years of military service applied to years of service for civil service without having to buy back/buy-in to the “system” based upon the two areas I highlighted below. Is my understanding correct? If not, please explain how this works and, more importantly, how it affects me. Does this apply to FERS as well, as I do not know which retirement system I fall into?
Generally, an employee must waive military retired pay in order to receive credit for military service in the computation of the CSRS annuity, unless he or she is: 1. Retiring from civilian service after Sept. 30, 1982, and has military service that was not used in the computation of military retired pay (see section 22A4.1-1); or 2. Receiving military retired pay awarded on account of a service-connected disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the U.S. on account of a service-connected disability caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war.
Given the information above which retirement system do I fall under, CSRS or FERS? If I can apply my past military time toward the civil service, at what age could I retire? Is there a mandatory age of retirement for civil servants?
A: You are partly correct. If you were awarded the retired pay or account of a service-connected disability either incurred in combat with an enemy of the United States or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war, you would be eligible to get credit for that time without having to waive your military retired pay. However, you would still have to make a deposit to the civilian retirement system to receive that credit. Since you would be covered by FERS, the amount would be 3 percent of your military base pay (excluding allowances or differentials) for any period of service occurring before Jan. 1, 1999, 3.25 percent during 1999, 3.4 percent during 2000, and back to 3 percent for all service after Dec. 31, 2000. You would have two years to make the deposit before interest began to accrue.
You would have to be employed as a civilian for five years before your military service could be combined with your civilian service to meet the age and service requirements to retire. In your case, the earliest you could retire would be at age 60 with 20 years.
Finally, there is no mandatory retirement age for federal employees, other than law enforcement officers, firefighter and air traffic controllers.