Military buyback


Q. I retired from active service with 30 years. I recently obtain a federal government job and am inquiring if I am eligible for the buyback program and, if so, if is there a cost comparison worksheet to review so I can determine if the buyback is advantageous to me.

A. Yes, you are eligible to make a deposit for your active duty service and have it used in determining your total years of civilian service and annuity; however, at retirement, you would be required to waive your military retired pay. To find out how much you would owe, complete Form RI-20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it, with a copy of your DD 212, to your military finance center. When they let you know how much that is, take it, a copy of your DD 214 and a Standard Form 3108, Application to Make Service Credit Payment, to your local payroll office. They’ll figure out how much you owe and help you to work out a payment plan if you decide to do that. You can download copies of the RI and SF forms at; click on Find Form(s).

The formula used to compute a FERS annuity is as follows: 0.01 x the average of your highest three consecutive years of civilian service (your high-3) x your total years and full months of service. If you retire at age 62 or later, the first number is increased to 0.011. To be eligible to retire, you would have to have a minimum of five years of actual service as a FERS employee and meet the age requirement.


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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