Military buyback and disability


Q. I am a 67-year-old military retiree. I retired in 1988 with 21 years of active-duty service. I draw a 40 percent VA disability, although I have three more claims, which may increase my percentage. I am also employed by the FAA as an FG-13, step 2 with five years of service. I am considering buying back my 21 years of active-duty service using a payment plan.

Because of using a payment plan, I won’t have the 21 years bought back until approximately one year before my planned retirement from the FAA.

1) Will I continue to draw my military retirement pay while making payments until I retire from the FAA, at which time I would forfeit my military retirement pay and draw my FERS retirement?

2) Once I’ve bought back my military time and I retire from the FAA under FERS, will my VA disability be affected?

A. You can continue to draw your military retired pay until you waive that pay and retire from your civilian job. You’ll have to check with the VA to find out if your disability pay would be affected.


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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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