Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Military buyback

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Q. I am a FERS employee considering buying back my service time. I retired after 23 years in the Army. I’m 49 years old and have five years of federal time as of 2013. Would it be in my best interest to buy back my military time and put it toward federal retirement? What would be the impact?

A. Here’s the upside. If you make a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service, you’d have 28 years of creditable service. If you retired at your minimum retirement age (56), you’d have 35 years of service and your annuity would be 35 percent of your highest three consecutive years of average basic pay. You’d also be entitled to the special retirement supplement, which approximates the amount of Social Security benefit you earned during those 12 years while you were a FERS employee.

Here’s the downside. To get credit for those years of active-duty service, you’d have to waive your military retired pay before you retire.

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