Military buyback


Q: I am trying to find out about the military buyback and who/where do I make contact before I retire from federal service. I am a military veteran looking to leave federal service by the end of the year and would like to pay back any money owe.

A: Complete Form RI 20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it to the finance center for your branch of service along with a copy of your DD Form 214, Report of Transfer or Discharge. When the answer comes back, take it, a Standard Form 2803 (CSRS) or 3108 (FERS), Application to Make Service Credit Payment, and a copy of your DD 214 to your local payroll office. They’ll calculate what you owe and make arrangement for you to make the deposit, if you decide to do that. You can get copies of the RI 20-97 and SF 2803 or 3108 from your personnel office or download them by going to and clicking on Find Form(s). Note: If you are receiving or are entitled to military retired pay (not reserve retired pay), in most cases you’ll have to waive that pay when you retire from your civilian job.


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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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