Military buyback


Q. I am a retired soldier with 21 years of service being paid my retirement. I am also a GS FERS employee with 13 years of service. I am 56 and would like to retire in about two years. I have asked for my calculation to see if I should buy back my service time. I assume that if I buy back my time, my military retirement stops immediately. I used your calculator to check my FERS retirement and believe I got the right number for just the 13 years. If I retire under the MRA+10 provision, will I basically get my current military retirement pay plus the 13 years of civil service calculations together, or do you use a different formula? I also assume even if I buy time back, I will retain my military benefits. Should I immediately buy back the time or wait until I’m closer to retiring?

A. If you make a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service, do it as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more the interest will pile up. It has already been doing that while you’ve been a federal employee. The good news is that if you make a deposit, you won’t have to waive your military retired pay until you retire from your civilian job.

The formula used to compute your annuity will be the standard one: .01 x your high-3 x your years and full months of combined actual and active-duty service for which you’ve made a deposit.

Based on what I’ve been told by other retired members of the military, you won’t lose your other military benefits if you waive your military retired pay. However, to be sure, you’ll need to check with your former branch of 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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