Military buyback


Q. I retired in 2003 with 30 years of active Army service. I have been drawing full military retirement pay since then. I am now a GS employee with seven years of federal service. Can I still buy back my military time and combine the two for a federal retirement?

A. Yes, you can make a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service. However, when you retire from your civilian job, you will be required to waive your military retired pay. If you don’t, your deposit will be refunded to you and your annuity will be based solely on your period of civilian employment.


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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


  1. I was force to retire early from Post office because of my service in Iraq as a reserve i retire at 55 and now at 62 the Office of Personnel Management has send a letter saying I did not pay in to my civil service and have recomputing my annuity and the Social Security has verified eligible If I was to Waver my Military pay would I still have to pay this money back ? To can credit for my Military Service ?

    • If you had periods of active duty service and didn’t make a deposit to get credit for that time when you were working, you shouldn’t have received any credit for it when you retired. That’s why they are reducing your annuity. You’ll have to check with OPM to find out if you can make that deposit now. Since you are receiving reserve retired pay, you aren’t required to waive it. You would only need to do that if you were receiving military retired pay. Even then, you’d still have to make the deposit, if OPM will permit it at this late date.

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