Creditable service


Q: A former supervisor recently told me that my time as a tribal employee before being hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs is creditable service under Public Law 93-638 Self Governance Act. I was hired by a federal employee in 1979 into a federal organization (BIA) but as a tribal employee. I was paid according to the GS payscale. It was a federal forestry organization with a few tribal employees. In 1992, I transferred to the BIA, with no break in service, to the same pay band, performing the same duties, with the same supervisor. Everything remained the same except the name of the entity on my paycheck. I was told the reasons that my time counts are: PL 93-638, the government-to-government relationship between the federal government and tribal government, the fact that I was hired by a federal employee, the fact that I was supervised by a federal employee, my pay and performance appraisals were determined by the BIA, the funds used to pay my salary came from the federal government (deposited in a 638 account), and there was no break in service between my tribal and federal service. OPM has my SCD as 1992. With my tribal employment, my SCD would be 1979.

A: Serving as a direct employee of an Indian tribe is not considered to be creditable service. However, to be sure that your employment fits in that category, your agency personnel office needs to check with OPM, which has final authority in creditable service determination matters.


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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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