Buyback and the reserves


Q: I’m 39 with 18 years of military service (6 active, 12 reserve). I’ve been working for the government as a GS employee under the FERS plan  for 12 years. I’ve read and heard the benefits associated with buying back my active-duty military time, but I am confused as to whether it will cause me to have to remain in the reserves longer to make up for the active time I’m buying back. My initial plan was to have two retirement checks, one from my federal service and the other from my military service that I would collect at age 60. I’m senior enlisted so staying beyond 20 years to make up that time would not be too difficult and would only add money to my overall retirement. There’s quite a bit of material out there for active military buyback, but nothing related to those who have continued on a reserve status. Can you help shed some light on if my plan to “double dip” is feasible? Also, can you point me in a direction where I can read the government policies on military time buyback?

A: Making a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service won’t reduce the amount of your reserve service. You’ll be able to receive both retirement benefits when you are eligible for them.


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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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