Q. I am a military physician with 18 years in service and four years of service at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, USUHS. Note these four years at medical school, though on active duty, do not apply for military retirement until you have 20 years in service, not counting those four years (this means a USUHS military physician must do 24 years to retire from the military).
My question is, I am considering leaving the service and joining NSPS as a physician.  I will be 45 years old and have 22 years of military service (not retired) — 18 years plus four years at USUHS.  USUHS is treated like Military Academy years.
1.  Can I buy my USUHS time into NSPS?
2.  Working in Germany as NSPS, my base salary would be $195,000, a locality pay of an additional $87,750 equating to $282,750. I will also receive a retention bonus of $71,000. Will my $282,750 all apply to retirement?
3.  What is the earliest age I can retire with 30 years in service? What would the calculation be at that point?  I will attain 30 years of federal service way before my MRA (minimum retirement age) of 56 years and six months.

A. While your USUHS service may be creditable for military purposes, it isn’t considered to be creditable service for annual leave accrual or retirement from federal civilian service. Therefore, you cannot make a deposit to get credit for those four years.

Only basic pay from which retirement deductions were taken will be used in determining your highest three years of average pay when you are ready to retire. Basic pay does not include allowances, differentials, overtime pay or bonuses.

If you do accept a job with the federal government, you would be able to retire at age 60 with 20 years of civilian service or at your minimum retirement age with 30. If you chose to do so, you could combine your active duty military service with your civilian service by making a deposit to the civilian retirement system and, at retirement, waiving entitlement to your military retired pay.

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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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