Q. I have read on your site where, in some instances, military retirees are told when they retire from there civilian job, they will be required to waive their military retired pay. At times, they are told they can receive both pensions. I am a National Guardsman with 24 years on active duty. I plan on accepting a federal position (GS). If I leave active duty and revert to M-Day (weekend duty) in the National Guard, buy back my years in the federal system and work for five to eight years until age 56½, will I be able to collect both pensions upon retirement? Will I collect a federal pension at 56½ and have to wait until age 60 for military pension? If, before age 56½, I go back on active duty for a year, how will that be affected?
A. The rule is straightforward. If you are eligible for or receiving military retired pay, with rare exception, you must make a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service and waive that pay when you retire from your civilian job. If you are eligible for or receiving reserve retired pay, you still have to make a deposit for your active-duty service but you don’t have to waive that pay when you retire.