Civil service retirement with military buyback


Q. I was active duty Air Force from November 1981 to May 1996 and got out with an honorable discharge.

The next day I was hired as a full-time military technician with the California Air National Guard, where I am presently employed.

I made a deposit to buy back my active-duty military time so it would count toward my civil service retirement

From May 1996 to the present, I have earned six more years of active-duty time from deployments and activations, which makes me eligible for an active-duty retirement.

I requested and was granted an extension to my military mandatory separation date. It is now the same day (Sept. 21 2015) that I will reach my civil service minimum retirement age of 56.

With the passage of the law reducing Guard retirement age by three months for every 90 days activated, my Guard retirement age is now 56 ½ (I was activated from Jan. 27, 2008, to Sept. 30, 2011)

I am in the process of doing a buyback for the above activation time.

I plan on retiring from civil service and the military at age 56. I will have more than 30 years civil service with my military buyback.

Will I be able to receive both civilian and military retirements immediately when I reach age 56? Will I have to waive my military retirement since I’m counting that time for my civil service retirement? Do I need to wait until I’m 56 ½ to collect my military retirement?

A. Assuming that you were born between 1953 and 1964, you could retire and receive an unreduced FERS annuity at age 56. If you will be receiving military retired pay, you would have to waive it when you retire from your civilian job; however, if you will be receiving reserve retired pay, you wouldn’t have to waive it. Since this is a site for federal employees and retirees, you’ll have to check with your branch of service to find out when you’d be eligible to retire from it.




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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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