Military buyback


Q. I am a FERS employee, and I’m considering buying back my service time. I retired as a sergeant first class after 20 years in the Army. I am 45 years old and have five years of federal time as of this year. When would be the best time to buy back my military time toward federal retirement, and how much will it cost me to do so if I want to retire at 56.6 years old?

A. The sooner you make the deposit the better. The longer you wait, the greater amount of interest you’ll have to pay. While I can’t tell you how much the deposit would be, I can tell you how to find out. First, fill out a copy of OPM Form RI 20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it to your military finance center along with a copy of your DD-214, Report of Discharge or Transfer. The finance center will send the form back to you with the estimated earnings. Take that, a copy of your DD 214, and a Standard Form 3108, Application to Make Service Credit Payment, to your local payroll office. They’ll figure out what you owe, including interest. Note: The forms are available from your personnel office or for download at, click on Forms.


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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