Military buyback refund


Q. I was medically retired from the Army in 1985, with permanent disability retirement at 40 percent. I’ve been with the U.S. Postal Service for 33 years now and I am currently 100 percent permanent and total from the VA. I bought back my military time (three years eight months) from the Post Office in 2012. I’ve changed my mind and I want to keep my military benefits. How do I cancel and get a refund for my military buyback?

A. You can cancel your deposit and receive a refund when you retire from your civilian job.


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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. Mickey Mitani on

    The individual is currently receiving Military Disability Retirement, VA disability pay and working for the Post Office. In order to apply his active duty time to his USPS time he has to make a deposit and then waive his military retirement pay – which in this case is from a disability rating and not 20 or more years of active duty. So the amount of the pay is higher in proportion to the time served and the benefit of adding 3 3/4 years to his USPS retirement is not cost effective compared to the loss of that income. Sounds like he is making the right decision. Also for those wondering, a VA 100% disability rating does not mean an individual cannot get a job – they are still allowed gainful employment unless the individual is rated 100% and essentially unemployable. My step-dad was in that category.

    • There are two types of VA 100% compensation: Individual Unemployability (IU) and Schedular. Individual Unemployability will not be able to work while Schedular can, I was rated 100% scheduler and at the same time I worked as GS 13 in the government.

  2. Derek Larson on

    The postal service grants military buy back refunds, WHILE the employee is still working. The poster would just need to contact HRSSC, ask for a military buy back specialist, and then explain the situation. HR will get some paperwork to the employee that he or she will need to sign and then the refund can be granted within a few weeks – instead of waiting until retirement.

  3. I am curious do you know about how long it takes to get the buyback refund after they’ve received your request and does it come via check in snail mail? Thank you.

    • Unfortunately, I have no idea how long it takes nor do I know the method used to make the refund. If any of our readers have received a refund of their deposit for active duty service, please share your experience with us.

  4. I am a former USPS employee who resigned in 2019. I was in the process of paying my Military buyback deposit, however it was never completed. Since I am no longer an employee, who do I contact to get a refund of the money I deposited?

    • To request a refund of the money you paid to get credit for your active-duty service, write OPM at the following address:
      U.S. OPM
      Retirement Operations Center
      Boyers, PA 16017-0045
      On the envelope write: Attention: Military Deposit Refund

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