Posted on Sunday, 15th November 2009 by

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If you are a current federal employee with prior military service you should consider making a deposit for your military service.  There are two reasons why making a military deposit may be beneficial:

  1. You could retire sooner, or
  2. Your can increase your retirement annuity.

By making this deposit, your years of military service are included in your civilian retirement computation, just as if you performed that service under your current retirement system.   Unless you are receiving a military retirement, making a military deposit is usually a great deal, often paying for itself within a year or two of retirement.

Retire Sooner: A military deposit may allow you to retire from your civilian position earlier than with your civilian service alone.  If you reach your Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) before you attain the required years of service, this may be your ticket to retire earlier than anticipated.  For example, if you began your federal civilian career at age 28 as a FERS employee and, you were born in 1955, your MRA is 56, but you will not attain 30 years of federal civilian service until you reach age 58.  If you made a deposit for your four years of active duty military service, you could retire at the MRA of 56 – two years earlier than if you did not make the deposit.  (Note: If you are covered under the Special Retirement provisions for Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters, Air Traffic Controllers, and Military Reserve Technicians the military service cannot be credited towards the 20 years of special retirement coverage for retirement eligibility, but will be used in computing your annuity.)

Increased Annuity:  Making a military deposit will increase your federal retirement annuity.  By making the deposit, you are purchasing a guaranteed monthly annuity payable when you retire.  The annuity is paid directly to you in the form of monthly payments for the rest of your life (and your spouse’s life if you elect a spousal annuity).  The military deposit is fully refundable if you change your mind and want a refund of the deposit.

To determine if this deposit is advantageous to you, simply compare the total military deposit amount to the increase in retirement income.  Then determine how long before the increase in your retirement annuity will pay for the military deposit amount.

For example, let’s say you have four years of military service and five years of federal service as a FERS employee.

High-three Salary: You don’t know what your high-three salary will be when you retire, but you decide to use your current salary of $60,000 as your high-three salary.

Military Deposit Amount: Your payroll or HR office determines your military deposit amount will be $2,600 for four years of military service.

Computation: If you are a FERS employee, your retirement annuity is increased 1% for each additional year of service.  So the computation is:

4 years of additional service x 1% per year x $60,000 = $2400 yearly increase in retirement income attributable directly to the one-time military deposit.  That is a $200 per month increase in your annuity payable for your entire life.

Conclusion: In this example, it took just one year and one month of retirement income attributable to the military service to equal the entire military deposit amount.  This is the break even point.  The higher annuity income continues for as long as you live, and will be also used to compute a spousal annuity if applicable.  If you plan to spend more than 13 months receiving this annuity, the deposit is beneficial.

If you are a CSRS employee the military deposit amount is higher, but the return is also higher:

X years of military service x 2% per year x high 3 salary = annual annuity increase.

This calculation does not include the time value of money considerations.  For those analytical types, TVM calculations would be appropriate, for everyone else, let’s keep it simple since this is normally such a short period of time.

Retired Military:  Making the military deposit is not for everyone.  If you are retired military and are receiving full military retirement pay, it is usually not advantageous to make a military deposit, because you must waive your military retired pay for the service period to be included in the civilian retirement annuity.  Usually the full military retirement is of greater value than the civilian retirement annuity.  Use the computation method above to determine if making the deposit would be beneficial or consult with your HR/Benefit Specialist.

Military Disability Retirement & Reserve Retirement:  You must waive your military retired pay in order to receive credit for military service in a civilian annuity, unless your military retirement is based on:

  • A service-connected disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the US;
  • On account of a service-connected disability caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war; or
  • Under provisions of 10 U.S.C. 12731-12739 (retired members of the reserves).

A deposit is still required for the active duty military service to be credited in your civilian retirement annuity.

Creditable Military Service:  As a general rule, military service in the Armed Forces of the United States is creditable for retirement purposes if it was active service terminated under honorable conditions, and performed prior to your separation from civilian service for retirement.  If you are in the FERS retirement system or your civilian service began after October 1, 1982 a deposit is required to receive credit for the service.

But what would a federal regulation be without an exception?  Here is information about additional rules and regulations that may be applicable to you and your service:

Military service which interrupts your civilian service (called to active duty) 
Military service performed before 1957 is creditable without deposit
CSRS retirement with civilian service performed before 10/1/82 (Catch 62)
Overview: Military time buyback, forms and additional resources

What else you need to know:

  • The deposit must be paid in full while you are a federal employee and cannot be paid after you separate from federal service.  Otherwise it will not be creditable for retirement purposes.
  • Retirement Eligibility for CSRS and FERS requires that you must have at least five years of creditable civilian service and be covered under the CSRS or FERS retirement system on the date of retirement.  Therefore, you cannot be a civilian employee for just one year and pay back your four years of military service to equal five years for retirement eligibility.  You must have at least five years of civilian service for civilian retirement eligibility.
  • Your Service Computation Date (SCD) can be confusing. There are at least four different SCD dates used by HR.  The SCD that appears on your Notification of Personnel Action, SF-52 is your Leave SCD.  You do not have to make a deposit for your military service to be included for leave accrual purposes. This date is different than your Retirement SCD, which only includes the military service if there is proof the deposit was paid in full.
  • Plan ahead because making the deposit requires several steps that take time.  The steps include requesting information from your military payroll office and your civilian payroll office.  Start the process well before your anticipated retirement date.  For more information review How to make a military deposit.
  • The amount of the deposit is determined by the amount of your military base pay, your civilian retirement system, and how long you have been a federal employee.  The military income amount does not include housing allowances, combat pay or similar extra pay.  The deposit amount is 3% of military base pay for FERS employees and 7% of military base pay for CSRS employees.  You may make the deposit at any time you are a federal employee.  The deposit can be made in one single payment, multiple payments, or through payroll deductions, normally for as little as $25-$50.
  • The interest rate is variable computed and added to your deposit amount on a calendar basis.  There is a two-year interest free period that begins on your date of hire.  However, since the interest is added on an annual basis, if the deposit amount is paid in full prior to three years of your hire date the deposit is interest free.  This calculator should help you in computing the interest due: Computing your military deposit amount.
  • Keep all information about the military deposit until retirement.  When the deposit is complete, you should receive a letter from your payroll office indicating the deposit is made in full.  Payroll does not normally provide this document to your HR office.  You should give a copy of the letter to your HR office to be included in your Official Personnel Folder and keep a copy for yourself to provide with your retirement documents when you retire.

Visit often to learn more about retirement options, benefits, and estate planning issues and I suggest signing up to receive my FREE monthly benefits newsletter.

The information provided may not cover unique or special circumstances and federal regulations are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact your HR specialist or benefits coordinator and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center.

Last 5 posts by Linda Sherman

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    129 Responses to “The Advantages of Making A Military Deposit”

    1. Carl Says:

      Hi Linda:

      I have a question. Maybe you can help me. I am 37 years old and have served 10 years in an 1811 position. I have also bought back my five years of military service. My question is, if I switch to a non 1811 position at some point before my MRA at 50, how does that affect my LEO retirement? For instance, if I leave the 1811 series now, how does that affect my MRA and do I still get the 10 years credited as an 1811 applied towards my retirement? Or, is it better to wait till I am 47 when I will have 20 years as an 1811 before I switch to another series?

      The questions are related to geography. I want to live somewhere and there is virtually no chance I will get an 1811 job in that location but non 1811 positions abound.

      Or, if there is a previous post about this issue, maybe you could point me in the right direction. Thanks so much for your time…


    2. gary mode Says:

      I actually have a question. Since I am retired military and because of my combat service my leave SCD and Retirement are three years apart. Can I just make a deposit for the three years?

    3. Linda Duncan Says:

      Hi Gary – Unfortunately, the SCD for leave is computed differently than your SCD for retirement. Here is what OPM says about crediting retired military service for retirement:

      An employee must waive military retired pay in order to receive credit for military service in the computation of the annuity, unless he or she is:
      1. Has military service that was not used in the computation of military retired pay
      2. Receiving military retired pay awarded:
      • On account of a service-connected disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the United States;
      • On account of a service-connected disability caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war; or
      • Under provisions of 10 U.S.C. 12731-12739 (retired military reserves).

      – Linda

    4. Matt Says:

      My question is this. I have been in my government job for a total 17 years. 15 years civil service and 2 years military. I purchased, bought back, my two years military time several years ago. I have been injured on my job to a degree that I have to take a disability retirement. 60% my first year and 40% thereafter. What happens to my military time that I bought back? I had hoped it would be added to my percentile of retirement but I can’t find any information on what happens to military buy back when some one has to retire on disability. Any insight is appreciated. Sincerely,


    5. Linda Duncan Says:

      Hi Matt,

      Based on the computation you mentioned, I am guessing that you retired under a FERS disability retirement rather than Workers Compensation or Social Security. If so, the military deposit service is not used in the computation at this time, but will be used in the re-computation when you turn 62. For more information on FERS disability retirement see:

      v/r – Linda

    6. Matt Says:

      Thanks Linda that does help. One more question if you can help. I am medically retireing from a law enforcement position. I only had eight years left any how. My question is this. My military time would have, under a law enforcement retirement, been added when I retired, at 50. Under FERS does law enforcement service make any difference in when my miltary time is added. In your previous post you said my military time would be added at re-computation when I turn 62. Would not my re-compuation date, being a law enforcement disability retirement, be age 50 rather than age 62 since, if was not disabled, I would have retired normally at age 50. or is that a quirk in the system whereby I get screwed a little bit.

    7. Matt Says:

      Thanks Linda you have helped me but what about my other question which is related to my first question listed above. I am retiring from a law enforcement position. Had I not become disabled I would have retired in 8 years anyhow. Does the same rule above apply even though I am in a Law Enforcement Retirement plan. In other words my 2 years military time, had I been able to retire normally, would have been credited to me at the time of my retirement, in 8 years from now. But now because I am disabled I can’t get credit for my military time until I am 62 which is almost 20 years from now. Seems like that needs changed if thats the case but regardless it’s out of my hands. Good Day, Matt.

    8. Linda Duncan Says:

      Matt – Since you have not worked at least 20 years under the special retirement system, you will not be eligible for the special retirement computation at age 50. The FERS disability retirement is a very generous disability retirement package, with 60% of pay the first year and 40% in the following years. If you retired eight years from now with 20 years of service under the FERS special retirement system, plus the 2 years of military service, you would receive 36% of your high three salary. I hope this helps.


    9. Matt Says:

      Thank you Linda for answering my question. I know FERS Disability retirement is very generous. Just look around at non-government employers and ask yourself how many companies give such good disability retirements. So no complaints at all. I am just trying to get the facts so I understand whats happening. Because it is an unplanned retirement it puts me at a disadvantage just because I never expected it to happen. But regardless I will adjust and life will be good. Thank you for your help, Sincerely

      Matthew Ritchie.

    10. Jeff Tullis Says:

      Hi Linda,

      Is there a phone number or website where I can find out where I’m at in paying my military deposit? Also what is the % rate after 2 years of payback? Thanks.


    11. Linda Duncan Says:

      Hi Jeff – You have to contact your payroll office to determine the status of your deposit and how much you have paid towards the deposit. The interest rates for deposits vary each year. Here are the rates established by OPM:

      You may want to verify the date the interest begins – You may actually have more time than you think.
      Thanks for the question. Linda

    12. Mitch Says:


      I was injured in a non-work related circumstance and may need to apply for retirement disability. I am an 1811, and a fellow 1811 told me that if you have more than 15 yrs and less than 20 yrs of 1811 service, you automatically get bumped to the 20 year mark for calculation purposes. Is this true?

      Also, I have 18 1/2 yrs of 1811 service and 3 1/2 non-1811 yrs of service. How do I calcualte my potential disability retirement annuity?

      Thank you

    13. Matt Says:

      Good evening Linda it’s Matt asking if you know anything about a proposed Bill, lobbied by the Federal Criminal Investigators Association. The Bill is called The Federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Retirement Relief Act. I wrote my congressman asking the status of this proposal. You can read the entire Proposal at the FCIA web site. I am looking for information on it’s status. Have a good day,



    14. Matt Says:

      Mitch I will let Linda confirm your question but me and you are both in the same scenario. Retiring Federal Law Enforcement Officers with more than 15 years but less than 20. Got some bad news my friend. Your friend is unfortunately wrong. It is my understanding that unless you have 20 years law enforcement you are automatically converted to regular civil service retirement in a disability retirement scenario. Now your even closer than I am. I will have 15 1/2 years once I use all my leave up. If your leave, primarily sick leave, will not bump you up to your 20 year law enforcement then I think you fall in to my category. We basically lose our law enforcement distinction. There is a bill somewhere that proposes to change that but as of right now it is what it is. So unless you have a scenario that puts you at 20 years law enforcement then you fall under the same civil service retirement as anyone else. At 18 1/2 years is there not any way you can stick around, desk duty, for say another year? Well good luck,


    15. Linda Duncan Says:

      Mitch – Matt is correct. You must have a full 20 years of coverage under the LEO retirement system for the LEO retirement calculation to apply. You will still be eligible for the regular FERS retirement and the FERS disability retirement, if you do not complete the full 20 years under LEO coverage. For information about calculating the FERS disability retirement see:

      Occassionally, LEO organizations will have secondary (management or desk jobs) positions that the employee can transfer to, and then the employee can retain the LEO coverage until retirement. You must move directly to a secondary position without a break in service (or no more than a 3-day break in service) for your LEO coverage to continue.

      I wish you a speedy recovery, Linda

    16. Eric Says:


      I was an 1811 (covered) from 1991-1995, left Federal employment and cashed out all of my retirement accounts. In 1996, I returned to Federal employment in a non-covered position. In 2003, I returned to a covered position. The 2010 National Defense Authorization Act allows the “rebuy” of prior civilian service. My question is: Will I be buying back “covered” time? It’s a matter of retirement at age 55 with 20 covered and 10 non-covered, or retirement at age 56 with 30 non-covered.

    17. Linda Duncan Says:

      Eric – Yes, you will be purchasing the covered time. The law only changed on making a deposit for refunded service under FERS. Since you never received a refund for the non-covered service, there is no way to make a redeposit for that service. The law did not change for non-covered service. Request a retirement estimate with and without the covered service. It will likely be beneficial to make a deposit for all service that would not otherwise be included in your retirement computation.

    18. Kevin Says:

      Linda, I have 5 years of military active duty time I have acquired over the years as active Air Force and as an Air National Guard member. I am 36 and still serving in the Air National Guard and should be able to retire in 6 years even though I would no receive retirement pay until age 60. So if I buy back the 5 years of active time will it affect my guard retirement once I hit age 60? If so, is there away to figure out the hit, or will that be calculated once I retire from my federal position, and is that when I would have to waive my guard retirement or a portion of? I am trying to figure out if it is worth buying back the time, if I will lose what I have been working for the last 16 years? Please help!

    19. Linda Duncan Says:

      Kevin- Your deposit for active duty military service should have no affect on a reserve or national guard type retirement. The civilian retirement is completely separate. It answer would be different if you were retiring from active duty military service… which is why this is confusing. An active duty military retirement must be waived for the time to be included in the civilian retirement.
      Thanks for the question, Linda

    20. Matt Says:

      Linda I am hoping you have a general Idea to assist me but OPM does things so contrary to my Idea of how things should be done that you might not know. Also note I do have legal assistance in my retirement process and he has given me his opinion on how soon to expect my approval. As I hope you know one of the biggest time consuming areas of the OPM disability process is gathering the necessary medical documentations and Doctors Statements and other statements. That takes a good deal of time. In my case all of that is done and OPM has stated to me that they have had the completed application and all necessary documents in their possession for 2 and 1/2 weeks. It has been assigned a case worker for the same amount of time. If all goes as planned do you have any clue of when my ajudication might be? My Disability Attorney, who exclusively does OPM disability retirement and who obviously should know, states that I should see a decision in the next two weeks. My attorney states that a big portion of the time spent on Disability retirement is the process before OPM gets it and after OPM recieves all documents in hand than the review should take no more than one month usually. Is he correct? Well thats my question I will await your answer.

    21. Linda Duncan Says:

      Hi Matt – I have seen the initial approval of a disability retirement range from 3 weeks to 9 months. There seemed to be a correlation between timeliness and the medical documentation provided/type of ailment. Those with well documented terminal illnesses seemed to approved very quickly. After the initial approval from OPM it could take 6 months to a year for the final adjudication. After the approval and before the final adjudication, you will receive payments at about 80% of your total benefit. I have found OPM to be very honest/accurate about any back logs and how long they thought it might take based on their current workload, if you wanted to check with them.

      I hope the reply comes quickly for you.

    22. Matt Says:

      Thanks for your reply but unfortunately the time lines run from ok to ridiculous. I do know they have back logs. My injury, thank God, is not terminal. It is permanent and disabling but not Terminal. So I actually still don’t know where that puts me on the 3 week to 9 month timeline. So I guess I will just get it when I get it. Thanks for your honesty,



    23. Linda Duncan Says:

      According to the OPM guidance, the military deposit can only be refunded for limited and specific reasons. Please see pages 19-20. I would also verify with DFAS or the payroll organization where you made the deposit. Good Luck, Linda

    24. John Spease Says:

      I am currently a Civil Servant as well as a military retiree from 1994 . Even though I did not buy my military time I understand I can have my SCD adjusted for leave and retirement for time I served in the South Korea in 1979 and again in 1992. Is this true and how do I go about it

    25. Linda Duncan Says:

      Jim, Sorry for the delay in responding, but I wanted to verify the USERRA interpretation. USERRA requires that you benefits remain the same as if you never left the civilian position to perform that military service. So your military deposit time should count toward the 20 year retirement and you should verify that you are making the deposit amount at the higher rate so it can be included in the calculation. Of course the military service prior to your civilian service is computed just as you mentioned.
      Thanks for the great question! Linda

    26. Linda Duncan Says:

      You will need to provide the evidence of your campaign service to your personnel office or AFPC in San Antonio. The information the personnel office needs is likely listed on your DD-214. The reference for crediting military service towards leave is: (see page 7). The rules are different for retirement service credit, and you would not be able to receive credit for this service for retirement for this reason. It is likely that you would have to waive your entire military retirement to receive credit for your military service in your civilian retirement.

    27. Dennis Uno Says:

      I am not retired military, but have three years in the Army with honorable discharge. If I make a military deposit, will I then have three years added to my Retirment SCD? Your example indicated that only 1/2 the military years were added to retirement SCD (two years added for four years service). However, I believe the example showed that the individual only needed the two years to retire. So I just want to verify that I will actually get all three years added to my retirement SCD. Thank you…

    28. Michael Says:

      Good Afternoon,

      I have been working in the civil service for 2 years and had five years military service previously. I bought back my military time [homorably discharged] during my first year here in a lump sum and have copies of all of the paperwork. Due to financial reasons, I may soon need to leave federal employment to seek a position that would better support my family.
      Do I lose the bought back lump sum? I would not plan on coming back to federal service.

    29. Linda Duncan Says:

      Blake, If the time is on separate DD-214s you can purchase them separately, otherwise you will have to purchase it all. I think you should look at the deposit amount and the payoff. Generally, you will receive a return on your investment for a military deposit is about 14-18 months. For example, if the depost amount is $1500 and your annuity was increased by $100 per month – in just 15 months you would receive a complete return on your investment. Of course this example does not include any interest or time-value-of-money considerations. Thanks for the question. Linda

    30. Linda Duncan Says:

      Dennis – With making a military deposit you will receive the entire three years of military service credited towards your retirement SCD. Thanks for the question. Linda

    31. Linda Duncan Says:

      Michael – A military deposit can be refunded to the former employee if they are not eligible for an annuity. So in this case you could receive refund of the military deposit. Here is what the OPM guide says: A completed deposit is automatically refunded by OPM if the service covered by the deposit is not creditable for retirement purposes.

    32. Linda Duncan Says:

      Cindy – Here is what the OPM site says about not meeting all the requirements for the LEO retirement at the time of separation: “The minimum age and service requirements apply even if the employee retires involuntarily or due to a disability, or dies before meeting the minimum age and service requirements. Thus, the disability annuity of someone who does not meet the special age and service requirements at the time of retirement is computed under the regular provisions.” Linda

    33. Colton Says:

      (delete previous entry)-Linda–I was active duty military (title 10) from 1987 to 1999. I became a National Guard military technician in 1999 under FERS and am currently still buying back those 11 years of active duty. I recently took an AGR (title 32) position with the National Guard after 10 years of federal service as a military technician. At age 56 I intend to retire with 20 years of active duty as an AGR. This coincides with my federal MRA+10 (age 56 years). Can I collect a FERS retirement and a (title 32)military retirement? Is there a particular strategy I should employ with these two retirements? i.e. submit MRA+10 retirement after or before AD retirement?or should I terminate my military deposit now because I cannot draw both and cannot get my military deposit back? Thank You….

    34. JG Says:

      Linda, I have 17 year of civilian service under Fers and 12 years of active duty with the Army Reserves in several periods of mobilizations and regular active duty. Is it worth the buy back investment in my case? It is going to cost me about 21k to do this. I am 52 and would like to retire sooner than later. Please Advise.

    35. Kiona Says:

      Good afternoon,

      I have a question reguarding my federal retirement and military retirement. I am currently a civilian employee and have 10 years prior active duty service. I am also in the reserves. I have read in several places that if I do the “buy back” for my active duty military time, I will not be elgible for my military retirement, however I saw that there was an exception for reserve military retirement. Under provisions of 10 U.S.C. 12731-12739 (retired members of the reserves). I’m just trying to see if it is possible to do the buy back for my 10 years of AD in my civilian job and still get the retirement from my reserve time, which won’t be until I am 60. Just making sure that I won’t be kicking myself later if I choose to do this “buy back” Thank you!!


    36. Ben Willand Says:

      I am 57 and about to retire from the National Guard. Does it make financial sense to get a federal civil service job, which I understand I have to hold for 5 years before becoming eligible for CS retirement, and pay in 15 years of active duty time? I understand I would not be able to draw the Guard retirement while in the civil service job. Thx, Ben

    37. Bryant Howard Says:

      I’ve been on military active duty and the reserves spanning the past 25 years. I will have 20 years of service creditable for a reserve retirement in November 2010, which I won’t receive until age 60. As a federal civil servant under FERS, I bought my active duty time after someone told me that it could count for both (towards the civil service retirement AND towards my military reserve retirement). Now I’m confused. Can I get both? If not, should I request a refund and just wait on the military retirement? Or take the civil service retirement (at 55) and lose the reserve retirement? military?

    38. Robert Says:


      I am retired Army 22 years active service and have just been employed by the federal government. I am also have a 60% disability rating, I am a Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. If I decide to buy back my military time will I have to waive my retired military pay and my disability pay. Thank you.

    39. DARLENE M. MOBLEY Says:

      I was medically retired in 1981 after 6 years active duty (1974 – 1981). I was classified as service connected, but not what is sighted above. Would it be in my best interested to pay back military time prior to my retirement? Presently, I have 28 yrs with military time included it would be 35 years.

    40. Bryan Says:

      Hi Linda, just found your great site. I have an issue that I just cannot get an answer from OPM. I was injured in the first Gulf War that caused me to be retired on a permanent Medical Retirement from the USAF after 15 years. Retired in ’93.I was FT Active Duty.

      I came on board with Civil Service about 10 years ago.

      The question is can I buy my military time back and if I do at retirement do I have to give up my USAF Disability retirement and my VA Check. I am at 80% with the VA. 30% with the AF and 50 with the VA. All have been combined into one check with the VA for Tax purposes.


    41. Tom B.(Buying Back Military Time) Says:

      Hi LInda, I don’t really have a lot of knowledge as to how this whole thing works, but my question is this: I have been with the U.S. POSTAL SERVICE for over 16 years now. Prior to that I was in Marine Corps for 11 years and 10 months precisely.
      Though it may sound silly I just recently learned about buying back your military time for the purpose of retiring at an earlier age. So at this point I don’t even have any idea yet as to how much this whole thing is gonna cost me, and is it worth it due to the fact that I have been in the Postal Service all these years and did not know about this. Any information you could possibly give me to make a better decision on this matter would be greatly appreciated. And by the way my current age is 47 years old, I will be 48 this coming March of 2011, I’m sure my age is a factor in all these. I was in the Marine Corps from 1981 through 1993. Been with the Postal Service since October of 1994. Thank you in advance for all your help.

    42. Roddy Hardy Says:

      Shall I buy back my military time?
      -I had 5 mos (1971) of active duty (1971-1977) with the Reserves and Utah National Guard.
      -I have worked for BLM 35 years and plan to retire in 2015. Some 20 years ago for a while I had a break in service with the BLM and when I got back on I became an Ofset under CSRS. My Civil Service Computation Date is included with my Civil Service Duty. I am 63.5 years old. Can I and should I buy back my active duty with the 5 months of duty with them?

    43. Phil Says:

      Linda –

      I am starting the process for a post 1956 buy back of approximately 15 years of military service. If I do a payroll deduction, are the deductions pre or post tax? Thanks.

    44. AC Says:


      I have 15 yrs of active duty service. I did not retire from the military. However, I do receive disability compenstaions. How would I buyback my 15 years of active duty srvice towards a ciliv service retirement?

    45. Ana Says:


      I’ve been activated and away from the BOP for over 4 years and would like to buy back that time, what forms do I fill out? Can I complete the forms while I’m still on active duty?

    46. Bill S FERS and AF Reserve Says:


      Just a quick question. I am working in the VA as a nurse and I’m currently buying back 11 years of military active duty time. My hope is to use military time towards a federal retirement. I would like to complete my military service via the AF reserve. is it worth it? witll the retirment be more? please advise

    47. Will Says:

      Currently, I’m a FERS civil service employee and I served with 9 years 11 months in active Army service from Aug 1982 thru 1992. I was medically retired from service as a SGT after being on the TDRL list with a 50% disability. I waived my military retirement for a VA 50% disability rating. The Army letter of release indicates: (You are removed from the Temporary Disability Retired List on the date indicated because of permanent physical disability and, on the date following, you are permanently retired in your current grade of rank.). I was under the impression that the OPM handbook, page 14, Section 2-2, d that I wasn’t considered retired, therefore, all my active military time (9 yrs. 11 months) was considered for leave accrual purposes since I didn’t have the 20 yr. retirement. I re-entered government service 13 Aug 2001. The east coast CPAC did an audit of my records in 2010 at my request and gave me credit (267 hrs of leave and SCD changed to include the military time to 13 Sep 1991)….then, I moved to the central part of the states and have the gaining CPAC reconverting everything back to where the military time doesn’t count. I was credited with 260 + hours of leave by the east region CPAC and given two or three years to use it…now all that leave is used. I initially earned 4 hours per pay period from 13 Aug 2001 and progressed to six hours after 3 years. My original SCD date is 13 Sep 2001 and I finished paying for military time July 2005. What are the actions that needed to occur once the time is bought and what are the actions I should take, if any, to correct the adjustment? Is any adjustment needed? Your guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    48. militaryman custom trophies Says:

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    49. Nick J. CSRS and Mil Payback Says:

      I have 5 years of post-1956 active duty and 30 years in the reserves (now getting reserve retired pay). I have 31 years in non-military civil service. I have earned enough quarters for Soc. Sec., but won’t be able to collect due to the windfall provisions (i.e., Civil Service retirement). Am I required to pay back to get the benefit of my 5 years of active duty service or am I exempt because I will never receive Soc. Sec.?

    50. Linda Duncan Says:

      Ben – If your retirement is a “reserve” type retirement, rather than an active duty retirement, you should be able to receive both a reserve retirement and civilian pay (or retirement) at the same time, with no affect on either. Double check with your reserve retirement advisor to make sure there will not be an affect on that retirement fund. Otherwise it sounds very beneficial for you to obtain a Federal job, pay back the military deposit, work 5 years and receive a retirement as if you worked 20 years!


    51. Linda Duncan Says:

      Bryant – Because an individual can serve in both the reserves and a Federal position at the same time, you can receive both a civilian retirement and a reserve retirement at the same time. The active duty time is creditiable to both retirements, if you made the deposit into the FERS system. It sounds like you are on your way to a profitable retirement!


    52. Linda Duncan Says:

      You will only need to waive your military retired pay at the time of retirement. Your disability pay from the VA will not be affected.


    53. Linda Duncan Says:

      Darlene, From what you told me it sounds like it would be beneficial to make the military deposit. Find out want the amount of the deposit will be from your HR or Payroll office and make the calculation for the change in the annuity. Remember the deposit is a one time deposit, but the annuity will change for every year you recieve the annuity.


    54. Linda Duncan Says:

      Bryan – You always need to double check with the organization paying your retirement to verify the affect on that retirement. However, in the CSRS and FERS Handbook it states that a disability retirement will not be affected (the amount received from the VA). Military retirements from the Air Force (or other department) must be waived in order for the military service to be creditable for the civilian retirement. So you could continue the payment attributable to the VA.


    55. Linda Duncan Says:

      Tom B. – It sounds like it would be beneficaial to make the deposit, or at least see how much the deposit will be. There is a step by step process on the website, or you can contact your HR office to begin the steps to determine the amoount of the military deposit.


    56. Linda Duncan Says:

      Roddy – I think you should at least determine the amount of the military deposit and the amount of change that will occur in your retirement by making the deposit. Most military deposits pay for themselves in 1-2 years of retirement.


    57. Linda Duncan Says:

      Phil – The deposits are made after tax.


    58. Linda Duncan Says:

      AC – To begin making your military deposit, you can contact your HR office or follow the directions on our website:


    59. Linda Duncan Says:

      Ana, You cannot fill out the forms until the active duty period ends because you need exact dates of service and the amount of your earnings for the entire active duty period. Here is the link to the steps you can follow when you return:


    60. Linda Duncan Says:

      Bill S – Military deposits are usually beneficial for those that did not retire from the active duty military. You can make a deposit for all active duty periods. The sooner the deposit is made the less interest you will have to pay. If you are a FERS employee, making a military deposit for 11 years of service will mean your annuity will increase by 11% of your high three salary.


    61. Linda Duncan Says:

      Will – This is always a confusing issue. Service Computation Dates (SCD) for retirement and leave are often different. The SF-50 only shows the SCD for leave. The leave SCD is computed using the rules from the Guide to Processing Personnel Actions (GPPA – Chapter 6) and the retirement SCD is computed from the CSRS & FERS Handbook (Chapter on creditable service). It sounds like your service would be creditable under both since you are not receiving an active duty retirement. I would ask them to show you why it is not creditiable and what guidance they are using. If you disagree, ask for an appointment with the supervisor or someone to review the documents.


    62. Linda Duncan Says:

      Military Man – Thanks for your input and I am glad to hear this is beneficial to you!


    63. Linda Duncan Says:

      Nick J – The answer dependd on if you were first employed under a CSRS position before or after October 1, 1982. You must make the deposit for the service to be creditable if you were first covered under CSRS after October 1, 1982. For more information see:


    64. Linda Duncan Says:

      Kiona, Because you will not be receiving an active duty military retirement, you will not have to waive military retired pay. You did find the correct exception in your case. Linda

    65. Linda Duncan Says:

      JG – The computation to determine if it is worth it to make a military deposit is relatively simple. Take the cost of the deposit (in your case 21k) and compare that with the benefit (12 years x 1% x high 3 salary). Remember the deposit is a one time deposit, but the annuity will last y our entire retirement. Lets say the increase in the annuity is $12k per year. Then it would take almost 2 years of increased retirement income to reach the break even point. If you plan to be retired for more than 2 years it would likely be worth it, in this example.

    66. Linda Duncan Says:

      Colton – You can receive both a reserve retirement under provisions of 10 U.S.C. 12731-12739 (retired members of the reserve components) and a civilian retirement, without there being an affect on the civilian retirement. The national guard retirement – since it is based on 20 years of active duty service and payable before age 60 – is likely considered an active duty military retirement. In this situation, it is likley you cannot receive both retirements. Verify your situation with your National Guard unit and your HR office who have your records.


    67. Will Says:

      Ms. Linda:
      Very helpful and I will engage this issue as you stated and let everyone know the outcome.
      Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Respectfully,

    68. Linda Duncan Says:

      Ron, You can make your military deposit at any time you are employed under a covered retirement system (like FERS). So you can make the deposit for the active duty service when you are re-employed, however, the interest continues to accumulate from 2 years after the being covered under FERS. Deposits for military service usually pay for themselves in 1-2 years of retirement income, but do the calculation to make sure it is worth it to you.

    69. Linda Duncan Says:

      You need at least 5 years of civilian service to be eligible for a civilian retirement. After that point, the military service is creditable for the retirement eligiblity. So you will be eligible for retirement at age at age 60 with the military service. If you wait until you are 62 your retirement calculation is a little higher (1.1% rather than 1%), but at age 62 you will not receive the FERS annuity supplement.

    70. Linda Duncan Says:

      JR, Previously, service performed in the militia or National Guard was not considered military service unless the individual was called or drafted into the actual service of the United States. However, USERRA modified this requirement and the best I can say is – It depends on the specifics of your situation. Here is the information on the USERRA changes for National Guard service:

    71. Matt Says:

      Good evening Linda, long time since my last post. Well my disability retirement was approved and I am currently on interm payments still but I know OPM is backlogged. I have a new question. I am not sure what this means for me if anything. But,apparently, OPM has an enhanced computation formula that they just implemented for those who retired, on disability,from most law enforcement positions. Not every agency qualifies but most do. The agency I retired from is one that does qualify for the enhanced disability computation. My problem is I don’t exactly know what that means. I was instructed by OPM to inform them that I retired from one of the covered agencies. I did so via email to OPM containing my name and CSA number. I have been doing the math based on what I think I know. Law Enforcement contribute 1.7 percent. I multiplied that by 20 for my first 20 and added 1% for each year over 20 and came up with 39%. I don’t see how that enhances my annuity but equally I don’t see how it enhances anyones annuity who retired under FERS. The only way I see, other than a law change, where I could get an increased annuity is if some provision was added to the disability retirement that compensated for not receiving the social security supplement. As you know disability annuitants are not eligible for the social security supplement that comes with regular law enforcment retirement. Why this is the case is beyond me but it is what it is. Can you explain this enhanced law enforcement computation to me and explain what it means for me. I know the change is for the good regardless of weather it increases my annuity or not. Any thing that recognizes disability law enforcement annuitants is a good thing. But when OPM says enhanced computation formula everyones ears peak because they equate enhanced with a larger annuity. In closing I’m sorry this was so long. Any information is greatly appreciated,



    72. Matt Says:

      Mrs. Duncan I look forward to learning what you know about the previous question I posted on the enhanced disability and survivior annuity for law enforcement retirees but I think I have found some of my answers and I think it’s just like I thought it was. For most people, on FERS, it won’t increase your annuity at all. Thats what I take from it. Most people fall short of the 40% that disability annuity is currently based on therefore most will keep their current 40%. For those rare individuals, and they are extremely rare, whose actual time computations put them at more than 40% they will receive an increased annuity. I can’t think of a particular situation right now where that might actually apply but I suppose one does exist otherwise why change it. But I await a more detailed explanation from you,



    73. Linda Duncan Says:

      Hi Doug,
      There is no tax write off for the military deposit and it is paid with after tax dollars. When you begin receiving the retirement annuity OPM will identify a portion of the annuity which is non-taxable because taxes were previously paid on the amount you paid in.


    74. Linda Duncan Says:


      If you resign before completing the 5 years as a civilian the amount you paid for your military deposit (with interest) and FERS annuity deductions can be refunded to you. The years of military service is included in the eligibility requirements other than the initial 5 years of civilian service necessary to receive a retirement annuity.


    75. Linda Duncan Says:

      You should contact your civilian personnel processing unit for correction of your Service Computation Date for Leave as it appears on your SF-50. The rules for receiving credit for military service for leave are in the Guide to Processing Personnel Actions (GPPA) chapter 6. The rules for crediting the time for retirement are different. You must make the deposit and be otherwise eligible for an annuity to receive the 17 years, and 11 months of credit for the service. Contact your HR benefits office to determine the amount of the deposit.

    76. Linda Duncan Says:


      The process can take awhile. I suggest talking with your local HR liaison to ensure they received the paperwork and are processing it. Four months is a longer than I would anticipate, except if this was a civilian deposit with OPM.


    77. Linda Duncan Says:

      If you worked 7 years as a civilian (or even just 5) you would meet eligibility requirements for a civilian annuity (Either MRA+10 or a deferred retirement at age 60 or 62).

      Stay safe,

    78. Linda Duncan Says:

      The military deposit is paid to your civilian payroll office. Unfortunately with all the centralization and regionalization of payroll offices, this deposit information may have moved several times. In 1992 the information was likely stored on microfiche… in an office that no longer has a microfiche reader. But don’t panic yet! Contact your HR benefits office. Perhaps there was a copy of the letter confirming your deposit was complete in the OPF. The HR office may contact your payroll office for you to see if the deposit was complete. $45.68 is likely an accounting error that should have been written off and had been allowed to accumulate with compound interest since 1992.


    79. Linda Duncan Says:

      An employee can make a deposit for their active duty military service so that the service may be creditable for a civilian retirement. All of your reserve time will not likely not be creditable for retirement. You can receive both a civilian retirement and a reserve retirement at the same time. You must of course meet all the eligiblity requirements for a civilian retirement for the military time to be creditable.

    80. Linda Duncan Says:

      It sounds like the the civilian HR office may have been confused. Ask them to correct your SCD for leave and credit your past leave accrual, based on the Guide to Processing Personnel Actions, Chapter 6. You do not have to make a military deposit. However, your SCD for retirement is only adjusted to include the military service if you make the military deposit. If you plan to be in a Federal position for at least 5 years you may want to consider making the deposit so that your 15 years of military service is included in your civilian retirement.


    81. Linda Duncan Says:

      The military deposit does not affect your Social Security entitlements.

    82. Linda Duncan Says:

      You must have at least 5 years of civilian service to be eligible for a civilian retirement annuity. Therefore, the military deposit will not be beneficial unless you have that 5 years of civilian service. If you have one year of civilian service under a career conditional appointment, you are eligible to apply for other civilian positions as a “Status” employee for 3 years after your departure, which may make it easier for you to find a new position in the new area.

      Good Luck, Linda

    83. Linda Duncan Says:

      Hi George F,
      You must work 5 years as a civilian employee to be eligible for a FERS annuity. With a your military deposit for 12years of military service, that would equal 17 years eligible for the annuity. If you do not work the 5 years as a civilian, your military deposit can be refunded. There is still a 3 year vesting requirement (that’s 3 years of civilian service) for the 1% automatic contributions… but not for the matching contributions. I am not sure which annuity calculation you are asking about (FERS or TSP options). If it is the FERS annuity you are asking about, check out this link for more info:


    84. Linda Duncan Says:

      Dear Operator 4,
      When you are eligible to retire, your military service (deposit paid) is included in the FERS annuity, but not in the supplemental annuity.


    85. Linda Duncan Says:

      Ron – Interest on deposits accrues from the original hire date.

    86. Linda Duncan Says:

      Thanks to USERRA laws, your retirement is calculated as if you never left your civilian position for the military duty. For that service to be creditable, you will need to make a deposit for the 2 years of active duty service when you return. The deposit will equal the amount of a military deposit or the amount you would have paid as a civilian (whichever is less).

    87. Linda Sherman Says:

      George – It is very likely that your military service can be credited toward your civilian retirement, if the military service was active duty and you were discharged was under honorable conditions as stated on the member 4 copy of your DD-214.


    88. Linda Sherman Says:

      Sid – You will be eligible to retire between the ages of 55-62, depending your age, year of birth, and years of service at the time. The eligibility rules are available at: You must have at least 5 years of civilian service to retire. My advice to any FERS employee is save as much as you can in TSP or other retirement funds and stay out of debt. A couple years before retirement learn to live on your retirement income and save the surplus. Finally have hobbies and interests to enjoy your retirement.
      Thanks for the question, Linda

    89. Linda Sherman Says:

      Tony, If you are retired from the active-duty military, you will have to waive your entire retired military pay to receive credit for that same time in a civilian retirement. Your military retirement benefits are likely higher than what you would receive under a FERS retirement, if you made the military deposit. For example 21 years of military service means you would receive 21% of your high three civilian salary for that same period. So you are correct, in many cases it is not worth it to waive a military retirement for a FERS retirement. There are exceptions for those who may be receiving a large portion of their military benefits from the VA for disability, because you do not have to waive disability benefits. I always recommend getting retirement estimates to make sure the deposit is worth making in your individual case.
      Thanks for the question, Linda

    90. Linda Sherman Says:

      You are correct. Generally the active duty military service is creditable in your reserve retirement and your civilian retirement – if you make the deposit. This is not the case with active duty military retirements – you cannot receive retirement pay for the same period of an active duty retirement. I guess those making the rules decided since you can work as a civilian and work in the reserves concurrently, a reserve retirement was acceptable to recieve for the same period as a civilian retirement.

    91. Linda Sherman Says:

      1. A military deposit has no affect on your VA compensation for disability. you will have to waive your remaining military retirement pay and make the full military deposit.
      2. There is no affect on Tricare medical and dental
      3. You have the calculation correct if you retire at age 62. If you retire under age 62, use 1%.
      Good questions – Thanks,

    92. Linda Sherman Says:

      Rodney, This is true. However the military retirement is usually higher that the FERS retirement. 20 years additional service will add 20% x your average high three civilian salary to the civilian retirement. Plus making the deposit for the 20 years of service can be costly. It occasionally makes sense to do this, but you will have to analyze if this will increase your total take home pay in retirement.


    93. Linda Sherman Says:

      Cody, I think the HR rep you spoke with is in error. The TSP contributions, the Flexible Spending Account and your FEHB health insurance are all pretax. However, contributions to CSRS and FERS are post tax. This is why when you begin receiving the FERS or CSRS annuity in retirement, a portion (which you have already paid taxes on) are excluded from taxable income. The military deposit is also paid with after tax dollars. Try contacting your payroll office rather than HR on the deduction.


    94. Linda Sherman Says:

      You will begin receiving the credit for the military service toward your “Service Computation Date” (SCD) for leave immediately. There is no deposit required for the leave accrual. The deposit is required for the militray service to be creditable toward your retirement. If you complete the deposit early in your career, you will reduce or eliminate the amount of interest you pay.


    95. Linda Sherman Says:

      The two years from the date you are hired as a civilian is called the interest accrual date. In your example, the interest accrual date is November 2011.

    96. Linda Sherman Says:

      Generally AGR service under Title 32 is not creditable. If you were called to service was under Title 10 it is likely creditable, if you make the deposit.

    97. Linda Sherman Says:


      If you received civilian pay (on military leave) while you were on LWOP-US, you only need to make a deposit for the service while you did not receive civilian pay. You may need to submit your leave and earning statements with the deposit request. I think you will find this information helpful:

    98. Linda Sherman Says:

      Hi Shannon,
      1. Service in the following academies is considered military service for civilian retirement purposes: ! Midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy; ! Cadet at the U.S. Military Academy; ! Cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy; and ! Cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Reference:
      2. You can acheive the 1.1% multiplication factor with a deferred retirement. For more information see:

    99. Linda Sherman Says:

      I cannot tell from what you have stated exactly what is occurring in your situation. I am going to guess that you are FERS from the dates and the 40% disability annuity. If so, your disability annuity is recomputed at age 62. Your annuity will be recomputed using an amount that essentially represents the annuity you would have received if you had continued working until the day before your sixty-second birthday and then retired under FERS non-disability provisions. The total service used in the computation will be increased by the amount of time you have received a disability annuity. Therefore the more service you have the higher your annuity will be at age 62. For more information see:

    100. Linda Sherman Says:


      Service in any of the reserve corps of the armed forces is creditable when an individual is called to active duty, and for the active duty period only. I am not aware of any affect on the reserve retirement. Since you can work a full civilian career and similtaneously be in the reserves, this is usually not an issue. If you are called to additional active duty service that would require you to go on LWOP from your civilian career, you can make a deposit for that military service under USERRA so it is creditable. If you are on military leave or other paid absence from the civilian position, where FERS (or CSRS) retirement deductions are coming from your pay, that time is creditable automatically.

    101. Linda Sherman Says:

      Hi Gary C –
      Title 10 military service and Title 32 military service are very different in their eligibility to be creditable in the civilian retirement. Retirements under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. 12731-12739 (Chapter 1223) which grants retired pay to members of reserve components of the armed forces on the basis of age and service (active and reserve), do not have to waiver their reserve retirement pay. Reference:

      Only your active duty military service may be creditable in the civilian deposit, and only if you make the required military deposit.


    102. Elmer E. Moore Says:

      I am retired military who has just bestarted receiving 10 percent VA disability pay with the possibility of an increase pending. I have been working for the government since 1974 and am now 86 years old and thinking of retiring. I was under the CSRS and transferred to FERS under the last option period. Would it make sense to pay the military deposit? What would the effect be if I would not pay the deposit and not waive my military pay? Suggested avenues would be helpful.
      One of the things that has kept me around the workforce so long is the Life insurance benefits for my wife.

    103. Linda Sherman Says:

      You may want to consider making a military deposit, especially since your VA disability will likely reduce your military retirement pay, but has not affect on the civilian annuity. If you made the military deposit, you would have to waive your military retirement pay, but not the VA disability pay.

      Simply ask for a retirement estimate from your agency with and without the the military time added to your CSRS/FERS retirement annuity. Add your military retirement annuity to the “without deposit” estimate and compare which annuity total gives you the greatest benefit. If the total annuity is more with making the military deposit, request your total military earning to investigate the amount of the deposit.


    104. Donald Sommers Says:

      Linda I started the Postal Service in Feb. 1978. I also receive a military disability retirement of 40% which is $800.00 per month. Would it be beneficial to me to buy back ther military time or stay as is. I want to retire ASAP.

    105. Larry, Retirement Concerns Says:

      Hello Linda: I retired after 15 years of service in 1996 under a program called TERA or TARP I believe. I receive full military benefits but only 75% of the monthly pension I would have received if I had stayed 20 years. Because of that reduction, buying my military time back makes sense if it means only forfeiting my monthly pension. My question is do I also forfeit the other military retirement benefits (i.e. free healthcare at military facilities or TRICARE Prime)?

    106. Linda Sherman Says:

      It may be beneficial to make a military deposit. I cannot tell from the informaion provided. It will not affect the disability payments you receive from the VA. However, if you are under the CSRS retirement system and will not be eligible for a Social Security annuity, then it may not be beneficial to make the deposit. I recommend requesting 2 retirement estimates – one with the deposit and one without so that you can see how much your annuity will increase by making the deposit. Make sure you look at how the annuity changes at age 62 if you are under CSRS.


    107. Linda Sherman Says:

      I have never worked in military personnel and cannot be certain of your rights to those benefits. I do not think you forfeit your other benefits, but you need to verify with those granting the benefits. There is usually a Tricare insurance advisor at each VA facility and a commissary officer at each DoD facility. Please verify with them or your military personnel office.


    108. Nyleen Mullally Says:

      I work for the Postal Service and will be eligible to retire in a couple of years. I was in the Army National Guard and am being given credit toward my RCD for the 3 months I was in Basic Training and AIT in 1975. Is this correct? I can’t find anything that addresses being given credit for that type of active duty while a member of the National Guard. I am a CSRS offset and my career federal employment began in January 1978.Thanks for your help, you are a font of valuable information!
      I have a final question – what does the DD214 need to show as the authority for someone who was in the Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) for them to be able to buy back their service so that it is creditable toward their CSRS or FERS retirement?

    109. Randy Blain Says:

      I am about four years from retirement from the Corp of Engineers I retired with 22 years of service in the military and have a 10% VA disability. I have not made a military deposit because the job I have is not a high paying job. I don’t know if I should make that military deposit or not – can you draw both retirements the military one and the federal one? Just wondering haven’t found anyone who could answer this question for me. I am 58 years old right now.

    110. John Lasota Says:

      Good Morning.

      I hope you can help me with my. I listed my service in chronological order:

      Oct 1976 – Aug 1992 – Active Duty Air Force
      Aug 1992 – Mar 1995 – Air Force Traditional Reservists (No other source of income)
      Mar 1995 – Sept 2005 – Air Reserve Technician
      Sept 2005 – Oct 2005 – Civil Service and Traditional Reservist
      Oct 2005 – Mar 2006 – Civil Service
      Mar 2006 – Present – VA Federal Employee

      After I was hired as an Air Reserve Technician (ART), I bought back my military time to be counted towards my service computation date for leave purposes and FERS retirement. During the time period Mar 1995 – Sept 2005, I gained over a total of 7,300 active duty points, which made me eligible for an active duty retirement. I didn’t take the active duty retirement, rather, in Oct 2005, I elected to take an Air Force Reserve retirement, based on my accumulated reserve points. I didn’t have any breaks in Federal Service from Mar 1995 to present.

      Now, at a pre-retirement seminar, I’m being told that my military buy back time doesn’t count since I’m drawing a military retirement. I retired as an Air Force Reservists while employed as a Civil Service. Any help would be appreciated.

    111. charles Says:


      Like your previous writers, I work for the federal government as a civilian (covered, law enforcement) and the Army Reserve. I am eligible to retire in 4 years for my civilian position and 5 years for the military.

      When I was commisssioned as a 2LT, I was on active duty for approximately 3 months; Officer Basic Course. Since then, I have been a drilling reservist.

      Is it worth buying back the 3 months of military service? Or, is this too little of service time to buy back?

      Thank you for your forthcoming response!

    112. Nyleen Mullally Says:


      Since my previous questions are still waiting to be answered, I thought I’d ask a couple more, or at least clarify my previous ones. Can someone who was AGR under Title 32 prior to August 1990 buy their time back if they are now a Federal Employee? Also, since USERRA was enacted, am I allowed to buy back my Army National Guard two-week annual training periods that I performed prior to my January 1978 start of CSRS employment? My Federal employment history is as follows: May 1974 to September 1975 FICA service (part Intermittent and part Full Time) with the Dept of Agriculture, October 1977 FICA with the Department of Defense until January 1978 when I became full-time with DoD as a CSRS, until July 1990. November 1997 with the USPS CSRS Offset until present. I was in the National Guard from May 1975 until July 1990. In a nutshell, under USERRA, will I get credit for my NG annual training for the years 1976, 1977 and 1978, and do I need to make a deposit to get that credit? Thank you!

    113. Linda Sherman Says:

      Stephen J,
      It is true OPM currently only requests verification of Social Security eligibility once – at age 62! The creditability of your military service for CSRS will depend on when you were first hired:
      1. If you were first employed before October 1, 1982, you can either:
      a. Make a 7 percent deposit for post-1956 military service, thereby avoiding a reduction in your annuity at age 62, or
      b. Not make the deposit and have your annuity reduced at age 62 if you are then eligible for Social Security benefits.
      2. If you were first hired by the Federal Government on or after October 1, 1982, you must make the deposit or receive no credit at all for military service, including eligibility to retire.
      Thanks for the great question, Linda

    114. Linda Sherman Says:

      You cannot draw both retirement payments. If you are retired from the military, you must elect to waive your military retirement and mack a deposit for the military service for that time to be creditable in the civilian retirement.

      Two common exceptions: This rule on waiving the military retirement does not apply to reservist retirements or military disability retirement payments.
      I hope this helps,

    115. Linda Sherman Says:

      I recommend requesting a retirement estimate with and without the deposit to make that determination. Although the increase may not be huge, the deposit is likely not much either.
      Example: For a FERS retirement 3 months of additional service means .25% increase in the annuity. For a high three salary of $70,000, that would be an extra $175 in your pocket each year of retirement.
      Most military deposit pay for themselves in 1-2 years, so you might only owe $200-$300 for an increased lifetime annuity.

    116. Linda Sherman Says:

      OPM states that the civilian HR offices are not to interpret military records. To be creditable the DD-214 must clearly show that the military service is active duty under title 10. National Guard Service is rarely creditable for a civilian retirement. The criteria is below:

      National Guard Service may be creditable only if it was performed:
      • Under a “call” by the President;
      • Pursuant to “orders” issued under authority of section 233(d) of the Armed Forces Reserve Act of 1952; or
      • Pursuant to “orders” issued under authority of a provision of title 10 of the U.S. Code.
      National Guard service, even if performed for a federally recognized unit, is not creditable unless it meets the qualifications listed above.
      I hope this helps,

    117. Linda Sherman Says:

      John Lasota,
      It sounds like they are confusing a “military retirement” and a “reserve retirement” which is very common. Here is what OPM says on this (Reference:

      Generally, an employee must waive military retired pay in order to receive credit for military service in the computation of the CSRS annuity, unless he or she is:
      1. Retiring from civilian service after September 30, 1982, and has military service that was not used in the computation of military retired pay (see section 22A4.1-1); or
      2. Receiving military retired pay awarded:
      • On account of a service-connected disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the United States;
      •On account of a service-connected disability caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war; or
      • Under provisions of 10 U.S.C. 12731-12739 (retired pay under Chapter 1223 for members of the reserves).

    118. Linda Sherman Says:

      Generally if an employee hasn’t paid their military deposit, they can submit the deposit paperwork and the check with their retirement paperwork. The deposit is paid to the finance office before being submitted to OPM. This counts as being paid before the employee separates. Military deposits must be paid in full before the employee separates from federal service. (Deposits for civilian service must be paid before final adjudication.)

      If you have already paid it, and your only proof is an LES, cancelled check or other documentation that seems unofficial, submit what you have with the retirement. DFAS for awhile did not send out letters confirming the deposit was complete. Sometimes there was only a little annotation on the LES stating deposit complete or balance owed $0. If you made the deposit, you need to indicate on your retirement paperwork that you made the deposit. It should be OK. The pay records are likely accurate.

      If you are waiting to be billed by DFAS and have already retired, it is usually too late to make that deposit.

    119. Linda Sherman Says:

      It took some time to find, but I located the original OPM USERRA guidance on National Guard Service for you. According to this guidance, the service you mentioned may be creditable if your FICA service is creditable for your retirement (verify with your agency) and the Guard service meets all the other requirements below. A deposit is required.
      Here is what is says:
      The rules for crediting National Guard service (other than when ordered to active duty in the service of the United States) are that the service MUST meet ALL of the following conditions:
      1. It must interrupt civilian service creditable under CSRS or FERS, as appropriate.
      2. It must be followed by reemployment in accordance with chapter 43 of title 38 that occurs on or after August 1, 1990.
      3. It must be full-time (and not inactive duty).
      4. It must be performed by a member of the Army National Guard of the United States or the Air National Guard of the United States in the member’s status as a member of the National Guard of a State or territory, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia.
      5. It must be under one of the enumerated sections.
      6. The individual must be entitled to pay from the U.S. (or have waived pay from the U.S.) for the service.
      Service in the National Guard (except when ordered to active duty in the service of the United States) IS NOT CREDITABLE IF ANY OF THE REQUIREMENTS ARE NOT MET. For example, such service which precedes Federal employment is not creditable. Similarly, if such service meets all of the requirements except that it is not followed by reemployment in accordance with chapter 43 of title 38 that occurs on or after August 1, 1990, it is not creditable, even if it is followed by reemployment by the Government

    120. Linda Sherman Says:

      There are four different SCDs. They may be the same or different depending on your service history. When you make a deposit, the only SCD that should change is your SCD for Retirement.

    121. Linda Sherman Says:

      Tommy – By making a military deposit you should be able to receive credit for retirement under FERS.


    122. Linda Sherman Says:

      I am not aware of any waiver of military deposits for any reason. Check with the person providing the briefing. I would love to know more if a civilian agency is somehow doing this, but I have not seen it discussed on OPM or the the sites discussing Combated Related Special Compensation.

    123. Linda Sherman Says:

      Mike – As long as you retire as a reservist, the active duty time can be creditable for both the civilian and the reservist retirement. You will be eligible to make a deposit for the 1980-1985 time under the normal military deposit rules and the additional 3 years since 2003 under USERRA rules. For more information see the information at:

    124. Linda Sherman Says:

      You will be credited the 359 days if you can obtain the earnings and the appropriate certification from the Army Reserve Army National Guard that these active duty days were actually performed under title 10. If a DD-214 was not issued it can be difficult to obtain this certification.
      Good Luck,

    125. Diane Hinkle Says:


    126. Linda Sherman Says:

      There is no affect to your disability compensation from the VA. The reference to refer to is the CSRS and FERS Handbook, Chapter 22 on military service credit.

      Thanks for the question and enjoy your retirement.

    127. Linda Sherman Says:

      Military deposits are almost always beneficial. You should find out the amount of the military deposit, then determine how much this service increases your annuity by either asking for a retirement estimate from your agency or using the retirement formula available at The deposit increases your retirement annuity permanently. Usually a military deposit pays for itself in about 15-18 months. For example, a $1000 deposit may increase a FERS annuity by $600 – $700 per year. In this case if the retiree planed to live in retirement for over 1 1/2 years the deposit would be beneficial.


    128. Linda Sherman Says:

      The earliest you can retire with the LEO retirement calculation is when you have 20 years of covered service under the LEO retirement. Assuming you began your LEO service on 12/1/2007, then you would be eligible on 12/1/2027.
      The Age and Service for Law Enforcement Officer or Firefighter:
      50 with 20 years of service under the special retirement system
      Any Age with 25 years of service under the special retirement system

      However, you are also eligible to retire under the regular retirement system when reach the minimum retirement age (MRA). In your case that is when you are age 56. This is called an MRA + 10 retirement. It is a reduced annuity and would not credit your LEO service using the special retirement calculation. Assuming your retirement SCD is correct (it doesn’t look correct), you could also retire under the regular retirement system with an unreduced, non-LEO annuity with 30 years of service in 2023.

      So you have three eligibility options: 2018, 2023 and 2027. Staying until 2027 will increase your annuity substantially.


    129. Anthony P. Says:


      I am retired military 20 years, I was thinking about doing the buy back but for what i am reading in your article and your replies through here it seems like it wouldnt’ be beneficial for me to do so. I would have to pay 3% on a 475,000 pay…my question is, i will soon start to receive my disability pay from the VA (which i don’t know how that works but anyway) so let’s say for example my total monthly retirement pay now is 1500 a month and let’s just say that 1000 of that will now be coming from the VA for disability, according to what i am reading i will still receive the 1000 from VA, and i am just giving up the 500 from my military ret. if i decide to do buy back, but does that mean that i still would need to pay the 3% based on the 400 plus? Do you think in this case it is still not beneficial to buy back? And one last question…buy back will not give me 20 years of “leave time” correct? Meaning, they will not apply that 20 years for leave purposes correct, only the time spent in a war or approved camapaign? Thanks for reading each of our questioins and replying!!!