Q. My question is regarding federal pensions. I know you must complete five years of federal service to be vested in the federal government’s pension program, and three years to be vested in the Thrift Savings Plan. According to the Federal Employees Retirement System handbook, military years bought back are treated as creditable years of civilian service, and therefore would count toward retirement. Does that mean if you only had three years of federal service and bought back seven years of military time, you would have 10 years of creditable service? If I leave the federal government after this year, prior to serving five actual years of civilian employment, am I already vested for the pension (reduced)? I have already bought back my military time.
A. To be vested, you must have five years of actual FERS service. Active-duty service for which you’ve made a deposit cannot be used to meet that requirement.