Active duty service


Q. I served 37 months of active duty in the Army from October ’74 to November ’77 and another seven years active duty in the Coast Guard from ’80 to ’87. All together I have over 10 years of active duty. Is there any chance that I can collect anything from the U.S. government? I’m 63 years old at this point.

A. First, your two periods of active duty service cannot be combined. Second, even if that were possible, it would not add up to enough service to entitle you to a military retirement benefit. The good news is that while you were on active duty, Social Security deductions were taken from your pay. Therefore, when you apply for a Social Security benefit, it will be based on your entire Social Security-covered employment history.


About Author

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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