Q: I was reading the June 6, 2011, Personal Advisor and in planning for retirement, item four, it was stated that if one received military retired pay that they needed to make an appointment with the retirement counselor. It was stated that “under limited circumstances you may be able to receive both (military retired pay and one’s retirement annuity). However, in most cases, you’ll have to waive military retires pay.” That certainly got my attention. I served in the Navy for 25 years before joining the VA as a physician in September 2000. My Navy retired pay is fairly substantial. I would not be happy to waive it to be able to receive an annuity on 11 years of service with the VA. What are the “limited circumstances” in which I might receive both my Navy retired pay and my FERS annuity?
A: You can only receive civilian service credit when receiving military retired pay if you were awarded the retired pay on account of a service-connected disability either incurred in combat with an enemy of the United States or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war. Even if your branch of service were to confirm that you meet the exception criteria, you would still have to make a deposit to the civilian retirement system to get credit for that time in your annuity computation.