Postal Service seniority


Q.  I am a medically retired Purple Heart recipient with a 30 percent service-connected disability rating.  I served three years active duty and 16 1/2 years in the National Guard.  I was deployed to Desert Storm and also Iraqi Freedom and all totaled have credit for about seven years of active-duty service time.  In 2008 I was hired as a Rural Carrier Associate (RCA) for the USPS, which is a part-time position that fills in for permanent carriers when they are on vacation, sick, etc.  My question is this: the post office I work in has five rural delivery routes. Assuming “seniority” is strictly based on date of hire, I am third in line for a full-time position when it becomes available due to retirement.  As a part-time employee, can I buy my military service time in order to leapfrog another RCA for seniority when a full-time position becomes available?

A.  No, You can only make a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service after you become a permanent carrier.


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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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