Military buyback


Q. I retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service. I am receiving retirement pay. I was given a 40 percent disability rating from the Veterans Affairs Department. VA takes out a percentage of my military pension and then sends that to me tax-free. I now work for the Department of Energy, and I have bought back my 20 years of service. I would like to retire at my minimum retirement age of 56, which is about six years from now, which if separated would give me my 20 years military and 17 years FERS. I was told that upon my retirement I have to elect to confirm that I want to buy back my military time (which is already paid for), at which time I will lose my military pension, or I can ask for a refund of what I paid to buy back my military time and retire with a smaller number of FERS years, but would have two pensions (military and FERS). I was also told that if I elect to combine military and government time, I will only lose that portion my military pension and not my VA disability pay, which is taken from my military pension. Is this correct?

A. Yes.


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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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