Military buyback


Q: I served in the Marine Corps on active duty from January 1968 to October 1969 and received my statement of earnings after requesting a statement from the Marine Corps Finance Center. I was also activated while in the Marine Corps Reserve from December 1990 to September 1991 in support of Desert Shield/Desert Storm as a Marine reservist. I sent the Marine Corps Finance Center both of my DD214s for both active-duty tours but it only sent me one statement of earnings for the initial active duty and did not get one for the active duty performed as a reservist. Do I need to buy back by nine months while activated because I was away for nine months from my federal job as a customs inspector? I hope I am not losing these nine months of my retirement. Do you suggest that I should also buy these nine months back to be credited toward my retirement and request the Marine Corps Finance Center to send me an earnings statement?

A: You can only make a deposit for periods of active-duty service that qualify for retirement purposes. The proof of that will have to come from your branch of service. Until you have either a DD 214 or its equivalent for those nine months, you won’t be able to make a deposit for that time.


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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

1 Comment

  1. Civil servants who goes on leave without pay to perform military service are generally treated as though they never were away, except they must make a deposit to get retirement credit. The process for making a military service deposit is slightly different for periods of active military service prior to your civil service start date than for periods of service while employed as a federal civil servant. You still need to get an earnings statement from the USMC and submit that along with your DD214 to your HR department. However, the amount of the deposit will “either be the standard deposit (7% CSRS / 3% FERS) or the amount of civilian retirement deductions which would have been withheld had the individual not entered uniform service if this amount is less than the normal deposit for military service.”
    I don’t know about the USMC, but for the Air Force, I had to submit requests to different offices for my regular active duty time vs. my “activated” reserve time.

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