Military buyback and benefit computation


Q: I am 58 years old, and I started work for the government in 1981. I have 30 years of service as a Defense Department civilian employee and four years as an active-duty service member. I am under the Civil Service Retirement System and plan to retire at age 62 with 38 years of total service. I have not bought back any of my active-duty time. What impact will that have on my retirement annuity and what impact will that have if I decide to take another job after I retire?

A: Because you were first hired before Oct. 1, 1982, you have a choice as to whether to buy back your military time: If you don’t make the deposit, you’ll get credit for the time in determining your years of service and your annuity computation; however, if you are eligible for a Social Security benefit after you retire, those years will be subtracted and your annuity recomputed downward.


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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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