Q. I am about to retire under CSRS, under which I have worked since 1977. I am now receiving a disability pension from the Veterans Affairs Department for a service-connected disability. I was on active duty from 1969 to 1973. In the past, I had received my disability pension from the military. I have been told that my records show that my military time will count toward my CSRS retirement, but I have to pay for my military time.

I see that in the Effect of Military Retired Pay section of OPM Form 1515, for my military service to count toward my CSRS retirement, I must waive my military retired pay, or have been awarded retired pay because of a service-connected disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the U.S., or awarded because of a service-connected disability caused by an instrumentality of war, or awarded under the reserve retiree provision (Chapter 1223 of title 10, U.S. Code).

I do not plan to waive my VA pension, and I was not hurt in combat with an enemy or by an instrumentality of war. I was never in the active reserve.

Since I did not make my military service deposit years ago, to pay it now would be a hefty sum. So I want to make sure my military service will count toward my CSRS retirement.

Additional info: My service computation date leave on my leave and earnings statement includes my military service. My military service was added to my SCD leave some time in 2000. The reason I was given for the change is, it was corrected by a tiger team.

I’m 62 and I qualify for Social Security.

A. Because you were first employed by the federal government before Oct. 1, 1982, you’ll get credit for your active-duty service in determining your total length of service and in your annuity computation.

However, if you don’t make a deposit into CSRS for those years of active-duty service, you’ll be subject to what’s popularly called Catch-62. Because you are eligible for a Social Security benefit, when you retire, those years of active-duty service will be eliminated and your annuity computed without them. Note: The fact that you are receiving a disability pension from VA will have no effect on your civilian retirement. You won’t have to waive that benefit.


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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



    I am applying for deferred csrs retirement. last worked for vamc Tucson az on 10 14 1984 . I am 69 years old now I have 12 years of service not counting my military service of 4 years. I get a military disability check every month. how does my disability check from the va affect my csrs retirement I do get SSN check from my civilian work so I get va disability compensation every month for disability exposure to agent orange in Vietnam era and a social security check every month from civilian work CAN I OPT TO ONLY GET CSRS RETIREMENT ANNUITY FOR 12 YEARS OF FEDERAL VA EMPLOYMENT WITH IT NOT AFFECTING MY CURRENT INCOME THE WAY IT IS. I did not pay social security under csrs while working for the federal govt

    • If you didn’t receive a refund of your retirement contributions when you left government, you’d be entitled to a deferred annuity. That annuity would be based on the average of your highest three consecutive years of average pay on the day you left, and would be paid retroactive to age 62, when you first became eligible for that benefit. While that annuity would have no affect on your VA disability benefit, your Social Security benefit would be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes, such as CSRS.

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