Military Reserve Retirement


Q: In May of 2002 I retired from the U.S. Army Reserves. At that time I had 29 years of military service, almost five of which was spent on active duty from 1972 -1977 and the remainder was in the Active Reserves. I will collect my military reserve pay in two years at age 60. I have just recently taken a job with the Department of Justice and am in FERS. My question is: If I buy back my active duty military time within FERS (approximately five years) will these same five years be factored into my Reserve Retirement Pay calculation when I do start to receive a military retirement check in two years or will those five years be taken away from the overall calculation of my monthly military retirement check? I do not want to do anything that would alter my military “take home” pension. Also, if I do choose to buy back my active duty military time to credit FERS, do I need to complete this purchase BEFORE receiving my first military retirement check? Thank you for your time and expertise.

A: Making a deposit for your years of active duty service will have no affect on your military retired pay. Although you’ll need to complete the deposit before you retire from your civilian job, when you do that is up to you. However, since interest will continue to accumulate on the basic amount you owe, the sooner you make the deposit the less you’ll have to pay in total.


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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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