Q. I would like to know how I go about buying back military time.
A. To find out how much you owe for your active-duty service, fill out Form RI 20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, which you can get from your personnel office or download at www.opm.gov under Forms.
Attach a copy of your DD-214, Report of Transfer or Discharge, or its equivalent, and mail to the finance office for your branch of service, which will verify your active-duty earnings.
If you don’t have a DD-214, fill out SF-180, Request Pertaining to Military Records, available from your personnel office or from the National Personnel Records Center website at www.archives.gov/st-louis.
Send the form to your branch of service, which will send you a new DD-214 or its equivalent. You can attach a copy of that to a completed RI 20-97 and mail it to the finance office for your branch of service, which will send you an estimate of your earnings.
Once you have your earnings estimate, take it to your local payroll office, along with a copy of your DD-214 or equivalent, and a completed
SF-2803 (CSRS) or 3108 (FERS), also available from your personnel office or the Office of Personnel Management website.
Your payroll office can determine how much you owe, including any accrued interest. If you decide to make a deposit, you don’t have to make it in a lump sum. It can be made in amounts as small as $50. And it can be made through payroll deduction.