Military buyback and creditable service


Q. I retired in 2000 with 20 years of active-duty time. I spent the next 10 years collecting a pension (E-6) and working as a contractor. I’ve been working in the federal government for the past two years as a GS-12, Step 10. Would it make sense for me to put the amount of cash necessary to retire at 30 years by buying back my 20 military years? Am I even eligible to do this? Would I have to do it now?

A. Yes, you can make a deposit for those 20 years of service, However, when you retire, you would have to waive your military retired pay to get credit for it in determining your total years of service and in your annuity computation. Making a deposit for 20 years would increase your civilian annuity by 20 percent (1 percent per year x 20 years). If you decide to make a deposit, the sooner you do so the better. That’s because interest accrues on the unpaid balance.


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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


  1. i retired as an E-7 in 1995 with 15 years Air Force active duty time. I’ve been a FERS employee since 1996 and now a GS-14 preparing for retirement. I’ve inquired about waiving my military retirement but no one can approximate my cost. Can you assist, how do i calculate my cost prior to FERS retirement? Thank you in advance.

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