Military buyback and Catch-62


Q. I am a disabled retiree, retired by the Army at 60 percent with 19 years, 11 months and 18 days of service. I am a FERS employee with 10 years’ civil service. I am 63 and considering retirement and buying back my military time. As 90 percent of my pay comes from the Veterans Affairs Department, it seems like a good idea. How does the Catch-62 clause affect me when I file for my Social Security? Will any other areas be affected by buying back my military time? How do these rules affect me if I work after I retire?

A. Catch-62 doesn’t apply to FERS employees. It applies only to CSRS-covered employees who have been given credit for their active-duty service, haven’t made a deposit for that time, retire and are eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62 (or when they retire, if it’s after age 62). In such cases, their annuities are recomputed to eliminate that active-duty service and reduced accordingly.

If you retire before reaching age 62, you’ll receive both your annuity and the special retirement supplement, which approximates the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a FERS employee. If you work after you retire, the SRS will be reduced or suspended only if you exceed the annual Social Security earnings limit. This year, the earnings limit is $14,160.


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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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