Military retirement and buyback and federal employment


Q. Hi, I am a veteran of the Army. I retired Nov. 30 with 27 years of active-duty service. I am going to work for the National Park Service very soon. It is in FERS. I know I can buy back my military service. I also have a TSP account that I had with the Army. It is just sitting there for now. Will buying back some of my military service affect my military retirement pay, which I receive now? Also what is the minimum time I will have to work to qualify for a FERS annuity? I am 50. Is the minimum time for an annuity 10 years? Can I buy back five years of military service and work five years for a 10-year retirement annuity from FERS and retire at 55?

A. If you want to get credit for your active-duty military service, you’ll need to both make a deposit to the civilian retirement system and waive your military retired pay when you retire from your civilian job. Because you are only 50, the earliest you could retire would be when you reach your minimum retirement age (MRA), which in your case would be 56.

If you didn’t make that deposit, you could retire under the MRA+10 provision; however, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were younger than 62. If you did make that deposit, you would be able to retire at your MRA and receive an unreduced annuity.


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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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