Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Military time

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Q. I have three periods of LWOP due to military deployments over the past 11 years. I am in the process of buying back my time. I have been told that my service deposit should be calculated at a lesser rate, not the standard 3 percent, due to me being a federal employee. I cannot find information regarding the lesser percentage. Can you clarify this issue and provide a reference? Read the rest of this entry »

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Military service time

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Q. I served eight years in the Navy Reserve and was honorably discharged. How do those years count toward retirement if I become employed by a federal agency?

A. Only time where you were called to active duty in the service of the U.S. would be creditable, and then only if you made a deposit for that time.

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Buying back time for military service

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Q. I am trying to get information regarding the buyback program. I served in the military for four years and got medically retired. I receive compensation from Veterans Affairs, so I thought that it would be a good idea to buy back my time. Could you tell me if this buyback is beneficial for a FERS employee? Read the rest of this entry »

Waiving military retirement pay

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Q. I have seen several posts and info on waiving military retirement pay when buying back military time; however, the timing is not clear. When does the military retirement pay need to stop — at the time of deposit payment(s) or at the time of the actual FERS retirement date? I am currently receiving military retirement pay and working for the federal government; I am considering buying back time to consolidate into FERS retirement. Read the rest of this entry »

Credit for military service in FERS retirement

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Q. I am a carrier with the USPS and recently paid back 14 years of active-duty military service toward my FERS retirement. I will be eligible for a Guard/reservist retirement at age 60. If I retire at age 62 from FERS and am applying the 14 years I bought back toward my annuity computation at that time, does it mean I have to waive my military retirement I will have been receiving since age 60? If so, to get two retirements I would only be using my Postal Service time for computation. Did I waste my time buying back the 14 years since I can only apply them toward one retirement? If this is true, can I still get the money back? Read the rest of this entry »

Earned years toward retirement

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Q. I am a federal employee with the VAMC. My appointment is Excepted without time limit. I am currently a GS-8 supervisor with one year in my current position. I have been with the VA since August 2010. I also bought back my military time (4 years). My Service Comp Date is 07/2006. My husband was put on orders to Ft. Leavenworth for school from 06/2014-07/2015. My question is: If I have a break in service where I do not work for the federal government will I:
1) lose my earned years toward retirement?
2) will I lose my earned GS level for reemployment with the government?
3) would I lose my years that I bought back from the military?

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Reserve time and federal civilian buyback

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Q. I have severed in the Air Force Reserves for 10 years. I have about three to four years of active duty time during that time in the reserves due to deployments and working extra days on military orders. If I buy back that time for my federal civilian position, how will that affect my retirement with the reserves should I go back in for my last 10 years in the reserves? Read the rest of this entry »

Service separation bonus and annuity computation

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Q. I have 14 years and 8 months of active Army service. In 1993, when Regan was initiating draw down of troops and instituted SSB (Service Separation Bonus),
I received a Service Separation Bonus in 1993′s drawdown of $40,000 before taxes and separated from the Army in Sept. 1993. In June 1995, I entered the federal service as a full time Civilian Government Employee working for the Army Material Command where I work today. At the end of this month, I will have 18 years and 9 months as a federal government worker. I am currently 56 years old.

Would it be more beneficial to add my active military service time to my federal government service time in order to receive a higher pension upon retirement? And if so, will I have to “pay back” the SSB I received in 1993? In general, my annuity would be based on the following formula: .01 x (your high-3) x (your years and full months of service). If I use this formula, then I would require a deposit, correct? Read the rest of this entry »

VA disability and FERS medical

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Q. I am a civilian FERS employee who received a work related injury.  Right now, I’m in the process of buying back my active military service (four years).  My injury is one that may eventually put me out on FERS medical retirement.  Can I collect federal medical retirement and VA disability?  Would it be beneficial for me to stop my military buyback? Read the rest of this entry »

Military buy back

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Q. I am trying to get information regarding the military service buy back program. I served in the military for four years and got medically retired. I receive compensation from the Veteran’s Affairs, so I thought that it would not be a good idea to buy back. But people say that I should get expert advice on this particular matter.  Could you tell me if the buy back program is beneficial for me? Read the rest of this entry »

Buying back FERS active duty time

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Q. I served five years and 11 months in U.S. Navy between 1992-1997 and was recently hired to work for the VA. Would my active duty time be applied towards my retirement, or do I need to “buy back” that time?
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Creditable service and early retirements

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Q. When is creditable service NOT creditable? As an Air National Guard Federal Technician, my local human resources office insists that three-plus years of Title 10 Active Duty military service (which I’ve paid my deposit for) cannot be used to satisfy the 20-year minimum service criteria for early/involuntary (loss of military membership) retirements in IAW 5 USC 8414 (c)(2). Is this correct?
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Military deposit refund for CSRS

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Q. I am CSRS and presently employed be the Air Force. I paid my military deposit in full, and as I will never have Social Security quarters, I would like to have it refunded back to me. Although OPM cannot quote the regulation, they said that if I was still making payments on it I could request a refund but because it is paid in full I cannot. Can you quote the regulation that states that? Can you quote the regulation that says that I can have this refunded! Read the rest of this entry »

Disability vs. early retirement

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Q. I am 51 years old and have suffered a stroke. I realize I could probably apply for FERS disability retirement, but I have a dilemma. I am buying back my military service time, but I have about five years to buy it all back. Which is better to apply for disability retirement or regular early retirement? Read the rest of this entry »

Law enforcement retirement

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Q. I am a federal law enforcement officer and currently have 22 years of service. I’ll turn 46 in March of this year. I also have five years of Marine Corps time that I was active duty.

I understand the rule that I can retire at any age with 25 years of creditable service or retire at age 50 with 20 years of service. I will fall into the 25 year rule, since I will be less that 50 when I am eligible. I know I am supposed to get a Social Security bridge when I retire until my regular Social Security age. I am not sure if that age is 57, mandatory retirement for LE or is it 62, 70 or some other number.

I am also confused about the amount of money I can earn, such as through consulting work or private business, when I retire and still maintain my supplement.

I am also confused that if I leave my current law enforcement job with 22 years and start working for another federal agency will I be mandated to retire at 57? When I do retire, will my computation be a law enforcement computation or a regular federal employee computation?
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Seniority and military service deposits

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Q. Does seniority play a part in military buy back? Do you move up in seniority with your buy back time? Read the rest of this entry »

FERS retirement with military credit

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Q. I am considering accepting an excepted service position. I am 55 years old and have no prior civil service. However, I do have 17 years of active duty service with the military and am retired from the Naval Reserve. I will begin collecting my pension for my Naval Reserve service at age 60. In reading about retirement under FERS, it seems to me that I could retire at age 65 under FERS using the MRA + 10 provision. Is it also correct that I could pay a deposit for my 17 years of active military service, subsequently receiving FERS credit for 27 years of service (17 years military active duty + 10 years service as a federal civilian employee), while still receiving my pension from the Navy Reserve?
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Buying back LWOP

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Q. I am a CSRS-offset employee planning to retire at the end of the year and trying to get all my ducks in a row.

While working for the Postal Service as an Army Reservist, I was on leave without pay for two months and six days in 1984, and four months and 19 days in 1994. I thought I would have to pay this time back in order to receive retirement credit. However, in the 2014 CSRS Retirement Planning Guide published by FEDweek, on page 40, I read, “A total of six months of LWOP (including furlough days) in any calendar year is considered to be creditable service. In other words, for calculating your length of service, it’s treated as if you had never been on leave. Further, you don’t have to make a deposit to get credit for that time.”

Does this mean I will be credited my time on LWOP for service and retirement? Read the rest of this entry »

Active duty, Reserve and civilian buyback

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Question:  I served five years active duty and am currently in the drilling reserves.  I am also a civilian government employee.  If I buy back my five years of active duty time, does that reset my reserve time?  In other words, currently I need only 15 more (good) years to retire from the reserves.  If I buy back my five years of active, will I need to complete 20 (good) years in the reserves?

A: Making a deposit to get credit for your active duty service wouldn’t reset your reserve time, nor would it have any effect on your entitlement to reserve retired pay.

 

Prior service adds to service comp time

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Q. I am currently a DoD employee with prior military service as well as time with USPS. My service computation date was adjusted to reflect my prior military time. Am I allowed credit for the time I was with USPS. If so, how is that time computed/reflected?  Read the rest of this entry »