Q. I was hired as a federal employee in 1971 (my service computation date is March 12, 1971.) In 1976, I enlisted in the Air Force Reserve and attended basic training and technical school from April 1977 to September 1977. To attend this training, I used a combination of leave and leave without pay. During the next 30 years, I was either a member of the Reserve or National Guard, and I performed annual military training and/or periods of active duty using annual or military leave and LWOP (never in excess of six months.) I was never in the active-duty military and I never had a break in federal civilian service or was on military furlough. I did not make a deposit. I retired April 30, 2007, at age 60. When I turned 62, my annuity was recalculated and reduced by 4½ months due to military duty. I receive Social Security because I switched from CSRS to FERS. I also receive a military pension.

I worked for several federal departments and have all my SF-50s. There is no mention of my military service until 1998 when the Department of Labor put “Creditable Military Service:  00 years 04 months” on a transfer action.

Because I was approved for annual leave and for LWOP, don’t I get credit for these 4½ months without having to make a deposit? Am I misinterpreting something?

A. When you were called to active duty for training, the time when you weren’t on annual leave was charged to LWOP-US. There are two differences between that and regular LWOP. First, anyone on LWOP-US can receive credit for time beyond six months in a calendar year. Second, a deposit must be made to avoid what is commonly called “catch-62.” If you are retired before age 62 and are eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62, the period of active-duty military service for which you didn’t make a deposit will be eliminated and your annuity recomputed. If you retire at age 62 or later, the reduction will be applied on the day you retire.


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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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