Military time, early retirement and MRA+10


Q. I retired from the Army in 1991 with 22+ years of service as a command sergeant major. I went to work immediately as a FERS civil service employee, and nine years and nine months later, was offered an early retirement and a $25,000 one-time incentive payment because of agency drawdowns. To qualify, I would have to waive my military retirement, which I did, and that brought my total years of service to about 32 years or so.  Had I known then what I know now, I would have simply completed three more months of FERS employment and taken the FERS MRA+10 retirement.

I now have been retired for about 10 years or so, and am receiving a FERS retirement. I turned 62 in December.  I have been told, I can (because I am 62) contact the Office of Personnel Management and have my retirement changed to a different type of retirement, (something about only needing five years of service if you are 62) and they would recompute my retirement using the nine years and nine months of civil service time and none of my military time. And that would result in a smaller FERS retirement. But by doing so, I could have my military retirement reinstated and draw the full military retirement and the reduced FERS retirement concurrently. I was also told that the money I gave OPM to buy the military time would not be refundable, which is fine with me. If this is possible, it appears that the money I lost in combining the military and civilian time together would be negated in the long run.

1. Is it possible to change the FERS type of retirement and have my military retirement reinstated? How would I start such a process? Are the Army and the FERS on the same sheet to coordinate this? I would not want to get caught up in something where I end up with much less than I have now because of some procedure conflict.

Would I need to pay back the $25,000 that OPM gave me to retire early?

If this is possible, what are the possible down side to such an action.

2. Immediately after military retirement, I went to work as a temporary GS-12 in Germany for V Corps for a year,  then transferred to a permanent employee status for the next nine years and nine months. Is there any way that that year can be credited to my OPM retirement? I have been told it depends on dates, but no one seems to know what dates are permitted to be counted to bring my total FERS employment past the 10-year mark.

3. When you combine your military and civilian time together, is it an all-or-nothing thing? For example, if I only needed three months of time to qualify for the MRA+10 retirement, could I just waive three months of the military time to make up the time and still have 21+ years for military retirement purposes? It seems to me that would be in the spirit of the law and would not double-count anything. I am assuming if it was possible, I could have the OPM change my retirement to the MRA+10 status instead of whatever it is now.

A. 1. No, you cannot convert your current annuity to a different one. What’s done is done.  The age 62 with five years of service retirement option is only available to an employee who is age 62 and has five years of service.

2. Since your period of temporary service occurred after Dec. 31, 1988, it would only have been considered creditable service if retirement deductions had been taken from your pay. Since you weren’t given credit for that time, it’s safe to assume that they weren’t.

3. With one exception, making a deposit to get credit for active-duty service is an all-or-nothing thing. Here’s the exception: If you had more than one period of active-duty service, which is often true of reservists who are periodically called to active duty, you can make a deposit for any one or more of those periods of  service. Even if that exception applied to you, there is nothing that can be done about it now. As I said at the beginning, what is done is done.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

Leave A Reply