Military buyback


Q. I am still working but looking to retire. I have 35 years of CSRS service with the Department of Transportation. I started in 1977. Additionally I have two years, four months of active duty in the Air Force from 1966 to 1968. I also have 29 years with the New Hampshire Air National Guard from 1981 to 2006.

When I retired from the Air Guard, they counted the two years and four months of Air Force time toward my Air Guard retirement. I was told by our DOT personnel department because of that, I cannot use my Air  Force time toward my CSRS retirement. Is that true?

If I can use the Air Force time toward my CSRS retirement, I realize I would have to buy the time back. I remember there was a grace period in 1982 or 1983 that you could apply your military service time (in my case the two years and four months of Air Force time) to your CSRS retirement without having to buy it back. In other words, it did not cost anything to get the time credited. Is that true, or is my memory playing tricks on me? How would I find this in my personal file?

A. Your personnel department is mistaken. Of course you can make a deposit and get credit for your period of active-duty service. In fact, because you were first employed after Oct. 1, 1982, you have to make a deposit to get credit for that time, including accrued interest.


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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