FERS, buyback and military retirement


Q. I am a FERS employee and had 10 years of active-duty military time before becoming a federal employee. I bought this time back. Now I have 14 years as a federal employee and the 10 years of military time.

My understanding is that under FERS, the military time is creditable service up front — i.e., I have 24 years of creditable service for retirement purposes. Is this correct? Based on what I have read, in six years I will have 30 years of service (10 military/20 FERS) and therefore will be eligible for my full retirement at my MRA (56 years 10 months, as I was born in 1969), no reductions for time/age.

Is this also correct? Finally, I am a naval reservist and will obtain 20 creditable years in the interim (10 years’ active duty/10 years’ reserve). I will be eligible to receive these benefits at age 60. Are both distinct/separate retirements? Will there be any reductions/offsets to one based on the other?

A. Yes, military service for which you’ve made a deposit is considered creditable service and, for retirement purposes, is treated the same as your actual FERS service. When you have 30 years of combined service and reach your MRA, you can retire on an immediate, unreduced annuity. Your reserve retirement is separate and distinct from your FERS service. As a result, you will be able to receive both retirement benefits without a reduction in either.


About Author

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

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