Injury and buying back military time


Q: I was an Air Force reservist on orders for six months back in October 2006. I injured myself while on active duty and the six-month orders turned into two years. I was put on the “Permanent Disability Retired List with a 30 percent disability (noncombat related). I served 29 years in the Air Force Reserve with a total of four years and eight months of active duty. I was hired in October 2008 as a federal employee. I am in the process of buying back/military deposit those four years and eight months. I attended a FERS retirement seminar recently and on one of the slides it said the government would  allow a waiver of “military retirement pay” for those with a “combat-related injury.” Will I be able to continue to buy back my military time with a disability retirement check for a noncombat-related injury? Is this counted as “military retirement?” Can I add my military time to my civilian seniority?  Do I need to cancel my payment for military deposit?

A: What you heard was that if an employee was awarded military retired pay on account of a service-connected disability either incurred in combat with an enemy of the U.S. or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty, he wouldn’t have to waive his military retired pay if he wanted to combine it with his civilian service. If he did, he’d still have to make a deposit to the civilian retirement system for any period(s) of active-duty service. That special provision in the law doesn’t apply in your case. For you to get any credit for your active-duty service, you’ll have to complete your deposit. Doing so will have no affect on any reserve retired pay to which you are entitled.


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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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