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Home » All Things Veterans – Vet Chats

All Things Veterans – Vet Chats



VA Career Trajectory Tool - Are You Future Ready

VA Career Trajectory Tool - Are You Future Ready

Military Buy Back Program

The Military Buyback Program is a benefit for all veterans with active duty military service time to receive credit for their military service time to be added to their years of civil service with the government and increases their retirement annuity.

All Veterans who qualify

Some veterans may not be aware of a benefit and the process to get their military time added to their current time working for the government. When they were hired a DD 214 was submitted that was used to determine their leave and sick time calculations. This does not automatically add the years to your present time for retirement. There is a process they will need to adhere to in order to get the time added to their retirement years.

They are eligible to apply for up to two (2) years once they are hired with no penalty. After that point, they will be paying an additional interest charge per year on what they may owe to buy back their years. The eligible military service time is added to their retirement date immediately upon finalizing their buy back process.

The buy-back process MUST be completed prior to filling out their retirement papers for processing. It will not be accepted after they apply for retirement and they will lose the service time. This will take approximately six months to complete. They must buy back their military service time to have it added to their civil service time (3 % for FERS and 7% for CSRS of base pay).

CSRS Employees (First employed before 10/01/1982)

If you are eligible for Social Security Benefits at retirement or at age 62 and:

  • Deposit Paid: Your Post-56 military service will be credited towards eligibility for retirement and computation of the annuity.
  • No Deposit made: Your Post-56 military service will be credited towards eligibility for retirement. If you are not eligible for Social Security at retirement, but will become eligible at age 62, your Post-56 military service will be credited for computation of your annuity until age 62. At that time the credit for Post-56 military service is eliminated. Your annuity will be recomputed by subtracting the years of Post-56 military service from the total number of years combined civilian and military service. This typically reduces the CSRS annuity by 2% for each year for Post-56 military service. If you are eligible for Social Security at the time of retirement (normally age 62 or older), the Post-56 service will not be used in the computation for your annuity.

If you will NOT be eligible for Social Security at 62 (or retirement, if later); no deposit is required and you will receive full credit for Post-56 military service with no future reduction.

If you are retired military, your service will not count for retirement purposes unless you waive your military retired pay and make a deposit for that service.

The required deposit equals 7% of your military earnings

FERS Employees (anyone hired after 01/01/1987)

If you have any military service after 1956:

  • You must make a military deposit for this service to count towards your eligibility for retirement and computation of the annuity. Once deposit is paid in full, your military service is counted towards your eligibility for retirement and computation of the annuity.
  • The required deposit equals 3% of your military earnings.

If you are retired military:

  • Your service will not count for retirement purposes unless you waive your military retired pay and make a deposit for that service.

To begin the process

Obtain the form for Request for Earnings (Form RI 20-97), complete the form and send to the appropriate military affiliation to receive your official calculated military time and earnings. You may want to call the military branch and who will be very helpful to assist you with your request.

When the verified completed form is returned, you will need to forward it to the designated human resources department benefits specialist that will handle the processing. The human resources department benefits specialist will compute the amount due for you to buyback your time. Attached is the Office of Human Resource Management regional benefits specialist points of contact list.

Once the amount has been determined, your servicing benefits specialist will forward that information to the Department of Interior Benefits Processing Group who will confirm the amount owed. Once the amount is confirmed, the employee will need to make arrangements for payment by check or payroll deductions (minimum of $25.00) to be sent to Department of Interior Benefits payroll processing group. An important note is once you start your payback selection the annual penalty interest charges stop accruing.

When the payroll processing group notes that your payment is completed, your SF 50 will be updated, and you will see the Retirement SCD (Service Computation Date) change on your leave and earnings statement.

Standard Form (SF) 3108 Application to Make Service Credit Payment

Military Buy Back Program FAQs

Requesting Reasonable Accommodations

Get Support for your Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) Through the Vets First Verification Program

If you have a Veteran-Owned Small Business, you may qualify for advantages when bidding on government contracts—along with access to other resources and support—through the Vets First Verification Program. This program is run by the Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). Registering through OSDBU will allow you to work with us (all businesses who work with VA must be registered). Find out if you’re eligible and how to register your business.




Federal Retirement System

OPM works with your Agency's personnel and payroll office to process your annuity claim. Regardless of the type of retirement, there are actions your personnel office must take in order to process your retirement claim. You can help reduce delays in processing by submitting your application in advance and by making sure your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) is complete. If you submit your paperwork early, your personnel and payroll offices will be able to complete their action before your retirement date.

Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) is a retirement plan that provides benefits from three different sources: a Basic Benefit Plan, Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Two of the three parts of FERS (Social Security and the TSP) can go with you to your next job if you leave the Federal Government before retirement. Then, after you retire, you receive annuity payments each month for the rest of your life.

Under FERS, an employee who meets one of the following age and service requirements is entitled to an immediate retirement benefit: age 62 with five years of service, age 60 with 20; minimum retirement age (MRA) with 30 or MRA with 10 (but with reduced benefits).

FERS Minimum Retirement Age*

Year of Birth FERS Minimum Retirement Age
Before 1948 55
1948 55 and 2 months
1949 55 and 4 months
1950 55 and 6 months
1951 55 and 8 months
1952 55 and 10 months
1953-1964 56
1965 56 and 2 months
1966 56 and 4 months
1967 56 and 6 months
1968 56 and 8 months
1969 56 and 10 months
1970 and after 57

* Does not apply to CSRS




Service Credit

Service Credit for Leave Rate Accrual and Retirement

Not Retired from Uniformed Service

For non-retired members, full credit for uniformed service (including active duty and active duty for training) performed under honorable conditions is given for leave accrual purposes, and for retirement purposes provided a deposit, as required by law, is made to the retirement fund. Uniformed service as defined in 5 U.S.C. 2101 means the Armed Forces, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Veterans first employed in a position covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) on or after October 1, 1982, or in a position covered by the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) on or after January 1, 1984, must make a deposit to the retirement fund of 7 percent (for CSRS) or 3 percent (for FERS) of basic military pay to obtain retirement credit.

Veterans employed in civil service positions before October 1, 1982, have the option of either making a deposit to cover their military service or having their civil service annuity recomputed to delete post-1956 military service if they are eligible for social security at age 62.

If civilian service is interrupted by uniformed service, special rules apply (see Chapter 7, Restoration After Uniformed Service).

Retired from Uniformed Service

Credit for uniformed service is substantially limited for retired members. In enacting the Dual Compensation Act in 1964, Congress adopted a compromise between the view that retired members should receive preference and full credit for their service and the view that there should be no advantage for retired members.

For leave accrual, retirees receive credit only for:

  • actual service during a war declared by Congress (includes World War II covering the period December 7, 1941, to April 28, 1952) or while participating in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge is authorized; or
  • all active duty when retirement was based on a disability received as a direct result of armed conflict or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war as defined in 38 U.S.C. 101(11). "Period of war" includes World War II, the Korean conflict, Vietnam era, the Persian Gulf War, or the period beginning on the date of any future declaration of war by the Congress and ending on the date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or concurrent resolution of the Congress.

For retirement:

An employee must waive military retired pay to receive any credit for military service unless the retired pay is awarded based on a service-connected disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the United States or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war as defined by 38 U.S.C. 301, or awarded under 10 U.S.C. chapter 1223 (previously chapter 67).

5 U.S.C. 6303, 8332 and 8411(c); and the CSRS and FERS Handbook

Creditable Service for RIF -- Not Retired from Uniformed Service

Total time in active service in the Armed Forces, including active duty and active duty for training as defined in 37 U.S.C. 101, is credited for reduction in force purposes for those who are not retired members, regardless of the type of discharge.

If civilian service is interrupted by uniformed service, special rules apply (see Chapter 5 on "Restoration After Uniformed Service"). Creditable Service for RIF--Retired from Uniformed Service

Credit for uniformed service is substantially limited for retired members. In enacting the Dual Compensation Act in 1964, Congress adopted a compromise between the view that retired members should receive preference and full credit for their service and the view that there should be no advantage for retired members. Thus, retirees receive credit only as follows:

  • A uniformed services retiree who is a preference eligible for RIF purposes receives service credit for all active duty. Other retirees receive service credit only for active duty during a war as defined in Chapter 2, or service in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized. See Eligibility for Veterans Preference in RIF in this chapter to determine if a retiree is a preference eligible for RIF purposes.

5 U.S.C. 3501, 3502; 5 CFR 351.501(d), 351.503

Creditable Service for Severance Pay

In computing the amount of severance pay a separated employee receives, credit is given only for military service performed by an employee who returns to civilian service by exercising a restoration right under law, executive order, or regulation. Military service performed prior to an individual's Federal civilian service is not creditable for severance pay purposes.

5 U.S.C. 5595; 5 CFR 550.708

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