Q: I am a reservist and had 8 1/2 years of civilian federal service (under FERS) when I was recalled to active duty right after 9/11. I have been a reservist on active duty for the past 10 years and am still on leave without pay status (LWOP) with the agency I was recalled from. How long would I have to return to the agency in order to make a deposit on my 10 years of active duty? I have about 80 hours of leave on the books. Is there a certain time period that I would have to return to the agency to make the deposit or could I come off of LWOP status, go into LV status, make the deposit and then separate? I’d plan to apply for a deferred retirement when I’m eligible. Also, is the deposit 3 percent of military base pay?
A: There isn’t any time limit on the amount of time that you’d have to remain on your agency’s roll if you returned to your civilian position. However, in practical terms, it would have to be long enough to complete the process of making a deposit to the civilian retirement system. First, you’d have to apply to your branch of service to find the amount of basic pay you earned while on active duty. Then you’d need to take that information to your payroll office and arrange to make the deposit. If all your active duty service was performed after December 31, 2000, you’d only need to deposit 3 percent of your basic military pay. If you did that within two years of the day you re-entered your civilian position, no interest would be charged. After you completed the process and resigned from the government, you’d be eligible for a deferred annuity at age 62; however, if you waited to resign until you had a total of 20 years of combined service, you could apply for a deferred annuity at age 60.