Military buyback


Q. Can I buy back my reserve schooling and my summer camps that are active duty on my chronicle statement?

On SF 50 block 31, if I buy back three years of my active duty from my reserves and I started in 2005 for the civilian federal government, is it supposed to be counted from 2002?

It’s now 2012. Does it mean I have 10 years of federal time?

I retired out of the Army Reserve with 20 years. Out of those 20 years, I have two DD-214s — one for basic and Advanced Individual Training and one for Afghanistan service. Both of them add up to one year and 10 months. If you add all of my annual training and schooling that is active duty, it comes to more than three years. I have bought back one year and 10 months. They don’t issue a DD-214 for 90 days or less, I was told.

A. Instead of trying to answer your questions one by one, I’m going to provide you with a short course on how you can get retirement credit for active-duty service.

While you received credit for your active-duty service in determining your annual leave accrual rate, as a FERS employee, you may only get credit for periods of active-duty service for retirement purposes if you make a deposit to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. The deposit equals 3 percent for periods of active-duty service prior to Jan. 1, 1999, and after Dec. 31, 2000. For periods of service during 1999, the deposit equals 3.25 percent, and for periods in 2000, 3.4 percent.

No credit is given for annual active duty for training unless it was performed before you became a federal civilian employee.

To find out how much active-duty service you have that can be credited for retirement purposes, fill out a copy of Form RI 20-97 and mail it to your military finance center along with any DD-214s or other evidence of active duty. When you find out what those periods were and the earnings you received, take it to your payroll office along with a copy of Standard Form 3108 and copies of your DD 2142, etc., and ask for an estimate of the deposit required. If you decide to make a deposit, they’ll tell you how to do that, either in a lump sum or regular payments. Note the RI and SF forms can be downloaded at


About Author

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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