Q. I am a civil service employee that was involuntarily retired from the Department of Defense in 1997 due to base closure. I received a VSIP/VERA in the amount of $25,000. At the time I was 47 years old with 23 years plus four years of military time, which was credited toward retirement. Three months later I was hired by the U.S. Postal Service. I have been there for a little more than 19 years now. I am 66 years old now and am considering retirement this year. Will I be allowed to retire with the total years of service or just the 19 years? I am receiving an annuity right now from the DoD. There are rumors a buyout may be coming. Would I be eligible if it does come out? What are my options?

A. When you were hired by the U.S. Postal Service, the salary of your new position was reduced by the amount of your annuity. Because you have been reemployed for at least five years, when you retire, your annuity will be recomputed based on your total years of service and your current high-3, if it’s greater than the one you had when you left DoD. As to your second question, reemployed annuitants aren’t eligible for a buyout.


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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


  1. Virginia Taylor on

    Hi, I lost my first husband in 2001 with a daughter 15 and twin boys 9 at the time. A horrible time in our life. My husband was a fed imployee in the old system. I remarried in 2011 and gave my annuity up. With 40,000. Of unclaimed tax deductible from my late husband. I’m fifty now. What I’m wondering is when I turn 54 can I get divorced, and get my annuity back, and the remarry my husband now. I know this sounds terrible, but my twins have a lot of college debt. That I believe they need help with. And my late husband, there father worked very hard for all his benefits. After being taxed to death on a death annuity for my children. I don’t really have alot of good things to say about how the system works. I feel that I should have been able to keep my death benefit annuity from my late husband even though I found happiness again. It’s hard to let go of the love they left you.

    • I understand how you could feel that way. However, the law is clear. Because you remarried before age 55, you lost that benefit. If you were to be divorced from your current husband, your survivor annuity would be restored. However, before you seek a divorce just to have your survivor annuity restored, you need to consider the consequences of that action.

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