Military buyback and retirement timing


Q. I am 50 and have 8.5 years of active military service (covered on DD-214) and 179 days of consecutive active-duty time as a reservist (no DD-214). I have approximately 3.5 years of competitive, permanent career federal civil service time but am no longer a civil service employee (resignation, no negative reasons). I do not count the 179 days of active reserve duty in my retirement calculations.

I have not done the military buyback yet for my 8.5 years’ credited military service. If I land another permanent, career full-time federal civil service job and buy back my 8.5 years, would I then have 11.5 years’ combined federal retirement and thus  have only 8.5 years to go before qualifying for federal retirement/pension (although I would continue to work)?

A. If you land a permanent, career full-time federal job and make a deposit for your years of active-duty service, you’d be able to retire on an immediate annuity at age 60 with at least 20 years of service.


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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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