Retired military switching to federal service


Q. I retired from Army under CSRS last year at age 56 after 32 years of service and full benefits. I wish to return to federal service. Is this possible? Would I have to give up my pension? Can I be hired full time under my old position or one similar?

A. Yes, you can be hired as a civilian employee of the federal government if an agency wants to do that. In theory, the agency in which you worked before retiring could hire in the position you previously occupied; however, it may not be possible. Most military departments have a bar on doing that — at least for a period of time, if not permanently. You’ll have to check both with the agency’s civilian personnel office and its ethics office. As a military retiree, if you were hired by the federal government, you’d be starting from scratch unless you made a deposit to the retirement fund for your active-duty service and, at retirement, waived your military retired pay. Read the Vets Guide at to learn how your previous service would affect your civilian benefits.


About Author

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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