Creditable service and retirement benefit eligibility


Q. Is there a minimum probation or vesting period required to be eligible to participate in FERS? Suppose a person worked for the federal government for one year, had nine years of military service and participated in the military buyback? Would this be considered 10 years of creditable service? Would the person be eligible for a retirement annuity?

A. While you would have 10 years of creditable service, you wouldn’t be eligible for a retirement benefit. To be vested in the retirement system, you must have five years of actual civilian service.


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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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