Military service and federal service and retirement


Q. I served on active duty (Army, O-4) for 12 years and had four years in the Guard enlisted time during college. Do my 16 years qualify me for any benefits under FERS once I reach 65? Does it make sense for me to try to get a job in the federal government to work for five more years and reach the magic 20?

A: First, if you got a civilian job, you would have to work for 5 years to be vested in the retirement system. Second, to get credit for active-duty service, you’d have to make a deposit to the civilian retirement system. Third, the age and service requirements to retire are: age 62 with five years of service, 60 with 20, at your minimum retirement age (MRA) with 30 or at your MRA with 10 to 29 years. It’s up to you to decide if it makes sense to go to apply for a job in the federal government.


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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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