Active duty service credit


Q. I have 6 years and 3 months active duty service. I received an honorable discharge in 11/2014 and got out as an E-5. I was rated 70 percent with my branch of service and 80 percent with the VA. In 09/2018, I started working for the USDA as a GS 7. I was told that I would be able to retire and collect a retirement pension in about 14 years from this (or any) government agency due to my previous military service if I buy back my service time. Is this true? Also, if that is true, will I continue to keep my VA disability pay benefits at that 20-year mark?

A. If you make a deposit for your active duty service, you’ll get credit for that time in determining your total years of service. With a total of 20 years, you’d be able to retire on an immediate unreduced annuity at age 60. You could also retire earlier under the MRA+10 provision. (MRA’s range from 55 to 57, depending on your year of birth), If you did that, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year (5/12th of 1 percent per month) that you were younger than age 62.

Making a deposit for your active duty time would have no affect on your VA disability benefits.


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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. Hi Reg, is this a typo? should the second to last sentence read ‘age 62′ instead of ’60’? i.e. reduced 5% for each year under age 62? Thanks.

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