Military service and FERS versus CSRS


Q. I entered on Ready Reserve status June 23, 1972, where I remained until Aug. 6, 1972, when I was provided discharge papers. I performed active Air Force service from Aug. 7, 1972, until Sept. 1, 1998 (more than 26 years). I started civil service Feb. 25, 2000. I was promptly placed in FERS. Should I not have been placed in CSRS — as I had more than five years of potential creditable service before Jan. 1, 1987? I have paid the military deposit required to get credit for my military service at the time of retirement from civil service. However, I am now being told that because I retired as a senior master sergeant (E-8), it is of no real benefit to me, as I will only be entitled to FERS retirement, not CSRS Offset retirement.

What’s the real story on this? By the way, according to the AF Form 941 I have in hand (Delayed Enlistment Program Statement of Understanding), paragraph (a), I am required by law to serve on active training and service in the Armed Forces and in the Reserve component for six years unless sooner discharged in accordance with regulations and standards prescribed by the Secretary of Defense. Then, there is paragraph (c): “My time served in the Reserve will be creditable for pay purposes, when I enlist in the Regular Air Force, or enter on extended active duty.”

These two paragraphs seem to imply something other than what I am being told. I hope you can provide clarity to me, as I am thinking about retiring very soon. So, was I placed in the correct retirement plan or not?

A: You are in the correct retirement plan. To have been placed in CSRS, you would have had to have been a full-time CSRS employee for five years.

Active duty service doesn’t count toward the five-year requirement, even if you make a deposit to get credit for it.


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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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