Reservist anticipating federal job offer


Q. I am a Navy reservist anticipating a civilian federal job offer soon.

1. How much will the active duty buy-in be for 16 years, 10 months of active duty, and where can I find a calculator?

2. What is the minimum number of civil service years I need to complete for a retirement? (I am age 52).

3. What is my minimum retirement age?

A. The first thing you need to do is complete OPM Form RI 20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it to your military finance center with a copy of your DD 214, Report of Transfer and Discharge. You can download a copy at, click on Find Form(s).

Because your branch of service is Navy, send the form to DFAS-Cleveland Center, Attn: DFAS-CL/FLAGB, 1240 E. 9th Street, Cleveland, OH 44199-2005.

When you get that information back, you’ll have to do a little arithmetic.

For periods of active-duty service prior to Jan. 1, 1999, the deposit equals 3 percent of your basic military pay (not allowances or differentials). For periods of service during 1999, the deposit equals 3.25 percent. For periods of service performed during 2000, the deposit equals 3.40 percent. After Dec. 31, 2000, the deposit is once more 3 percent.

If you make a deposit, each year of active-duty service will increase your annuity by 1 percent, with additional months increasing that amount proportionally. No interest will be charged if you complete the deposit within two years. Note: If you wait until you are hired by the federal government, your agency payroll office can do the math for you.

To be vested in the retirement system, you need to have five actual full-time years of service. Based on your bought-back active-duty service, plus additional years of actual service, the earliest you could retire would be age 60. By then, you would have over 20 years of service.


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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