Military buyback


Q. I was informed by personnel that to get credit for the 7½ years of active duty, I would be required to buy back my military leave, which I did. I went to a retirement class and they told me that because I was hired in 1981, I got the time without buying it. How can I get a refund of the money I paid in error? It was over $12,500.

A. Before you conclude that you made an error, be aware of the fact that if you retire before age 62 and are eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62, those years for which you made a deposit won’t be removed and your annuity recomputed downward. The same is true if you retire at or after age 62. Only if you won’t be eligible for a Social Security benefit at either of those points in time will you live to regret having made a deposit. Anyhow, what’s done is done. You can’t get a refund of your deposit.


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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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