Law enforcement retirement and military buyback


Q. I am a 38-year-old licensed medical professional for the VA with 17 years of service (10 years in VA/seven years bought back for the military service credit). A medical position in the Bureau of Prisons has been offered to me. Will my 17 years count toward law enforcement retirement? Will I have to buy back a portion of my creditable service time to equal the law enforcement percentage? Will I be able to retire at the 25-year mark under law enforcement? Is there an age waiver that will need to be completed allowing me to transfer to the bureau since I am 38?

A. No, it won’t be creditable toward a law enforcement retirement, nor can you make a deposit to get credit for it. You’ll have to have 20 years of actual law enforcement-covered service to receive the enhanced benefit when you retire.

Although you are starting your law enforcement career later than most, you will be allowed to continue working until you reach that 20-year target, at which point you will be automatically retired.


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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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