By Reg Jones
March 4th, 2014 | Military service deposits
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.
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 »
Q. I am considering filing for VA disability for a military injury that occurred in a parachute jump during airborne training. This was 22 years ago. I did have a severely broken ankle requiring surgery. Now I have arthritis in that ankle as well as severe knee degenerative joint disease that may require knee replacement in the same leg.
I have some concerns:
1. I never retired from active duty. I will receive a reserve retirement at age 60, however. I never applied for military disability retirement (was doing OK at that time).
2. I joined the federal service and “bought back” my military years for FERS credit (19 years). Did over 5 yrs in Veterans Affairs, so I became eligible for a deferred FERS retirement that I will elect to take at 60. Evidently, I can collect both reserve retirement and FERS without any reduction in either (I verified this).
3. If I apply for VA disability benefits (I am 50), and they are granted, will any reduction occur to either military or FERS retirement benefits? Would I lose either?
4. How does having an injury during “hazardous duty” affect me personally in terms of benefits? Read the rest of this entry »
February 27th, 2014 | Military service deposits
Q. I have 15 years of active duty military service and no reserve service. I have been selected for a job with the State Department with a GS paygrade. I plan on buying back my active duty military time.
My question is this: If I decide at a later date to go into the reserves, can I still use my 15 years of active duty toward a reserve retirement or is it no longer usable once I buy it back for my federal civilian retirement?
Q. 1. I have three years of active duty in the Army from 1976 to 1979. I have been a federal employee in the Indian Health Service for 2½ years. I am at GP Grade 12, Step 3. I receive a basic pay and a locality pay. My service computation date for leave is May 8, 2008. My retirement plan is FERS and FICA. FLSA category is exempt.
I have recently learned that I can buy back my military time in active duty, but I do not understand what this means. What exactly am I buying back, and how is this reflected on my retirement?
2. At this time, my position occupied is competitive service. After three years as a federal employee, your position occupied will convert to career status. If I buy back my time in the military, will those three years of active duty be added to my 2½ years of federal employment to bring me to a total of 5½ years, putting me into career status?
Q. I have read on your site where, in some instances, military retirees are told when they retire from there civilian job, they will be required to waive their military retired pay. At times, they are told they can receive both pensions. I am a National Guardsman with 24 years on active duty. I plan on accepting a federal position (GS). If I leave active duty and revert to M-Day (weekend duty) in the National Guard, buy back my years in the federal system and work for five to eight years until age 56½, will I be able to collect both pensions upon retirement? Will I collect a federal pension at 56½ and have to wait until age 60 for military pension? If, before age 56½, I go back on active duty for a year, how will that be affected?
February 21st, 2014 | Benefits Creditable service: CSRS Creditable service: FERS CSRS annuity computation EMPLOYMENT FERS annuity computation High-3 Military service deposits PAY Re-employment RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY taxes Windfall elimination provision
Q. 1. How are the days of active-duty service calculated?
2. Is that a one-to-one credit added to years of service?
3. Can you buy it back after you retire and adjust the annuity accordingly?
4. Can you buy back portions of it?
5. Can you pay in installments?
6. What percentage of military pay per year would you get in retirement? For CSRS, it is roughly 2 percent based on high-3; would it be calculated on actual salary back then or adjusted for inflation?
7. Any chance for a retroactive payment once established?
8. Will I lose any benefits if I do this?
9. Can I do this if I was not in the military long enough to earn a pension?
10. How does Social Security fit into this picture?
11. Can I get all three (FERS/CSRS, Social Security, military/Defense Department) separately? What is the penalty for collecting multiple pensions if done separately?
Q. I left active duty after 14 years and joined the reserves. Due to my specialty in certain investigations (CID agent), I was involuntary mobilized prior to obtaining a civilian (1811) job. I was mobilized for four continuous years, bringing my active-duty time to 18 years. Once off active duty, I was able to report for my first day of work as an 1811 in the GS. Since I was not eligible for active-duty retirement, I was able to use my 18 years for sick/vacation time. My unit is planning to mobilize this year (for a year), and my plan is to mobilize and hope to stay on until reaching 20 active-duty years, thereby clinching an active-duty retirement. If I buy the 18 years back now for the GS civilian job, and then I mobilize for two years, would I be eligible for the active-duty retirement since I will have reached 20 years?
Q. I’m 61 (born in 1952) and am retiring this year at age 62. Beginning in 1970, I served three years of active duty in the Navy, 10 years in the Reserve, 16 years of active-duty reserves. I retired to the fleet reserve in 1999, which delayed my retirement pay to age 60 (2012). I joined the Postal Service in 2001. At that time, I entered FERS and did military buyback. With my Navy and postal time, postal computation shows I have 30 years this year and am eligible to retire from the Postal Service. Will I be able to receive both Naval Reserve retirement and Postal Service retirement, or am I only eligible to collect Postal Service retirement?
Q. I am a full-time federal employee with more than two years of service, and I am also a veteran with eight years of active-duty service. I was informed by my supervisor that I should be accruing more than four hours of annual leave per pay period based on my years of service from the military. I am paying to buy back those eight years of military service. Do I have to wait until my eight years of service have been paid for to have my annual leave accrual adjusted, or should it be adjusted right away? I am a GS employee under FERS.
Q. I am a 52-year-old veteran who works as a civilian for the Postal Service. I began my military career with 10 years of active-duty Army service and then honorably separated and went to work for the Postal Service. I bought back those 10 years at that time and joined the Army Reserve. I served eight years with the Postal Service full time and USAR duty as required. In 2002, my Reserve unit was called up in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom, and I remained an active-duty reservist until February 2012, when I qualified for lock-in. As required, the Postal Service held my job for me. Upon my return to the post office, I inquired about the process to make up the contributions to retirement and Thrift Savings Plan as outlined in the FERS guide and was told I could not because I was receiving reserved retirement pay, and that the time that I spent activated with the Reserve would not count toward postal retirement. Furthermore, the USPS wants to refund the money that I already paid to buy back my active duty service and not credit that time toward my USPS retirement. Is this correct? It does not appear to be under the following:
10 USC § 12741 – Retirement for service in an active status performed in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve after eligibility for regular retirement
10 USC § 12736 – Service credited for retired pay benefits not excluded for other benefits.
Q. I have 20 years in the National Guard with a little over five as Title 10 for deployments. I got a 20-year letter and requested to go Individual Ready Reserve, which I have my orders for. Now I work at the Veterans Affairs Department and plan to buy back my Title 10 time. Will this reduce my Guard retirement?
Q. I am 57 with 22+ years of service with the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. I’d like to find out what my FERS balance is and what would be the best time to start an annuity. I served from 1989 to 2010 + two years active military bought back.
Q. I am a military technician who is reaching age 60. At that time, I will only have 16 years civil service. Will I receive a full retirement with the special retirement supplement? Or will it be a reduced retirement?
Q. I’m retired from active duty after 24 years. Is there any benefit for me to buy back my time? I heard only if I’m disabled. What percentage is that and why?
Q. I am retired with an active-duty Air Force retirement and a Veterans Affairs Department disability rating of 90 percent. I am also subsequently going to retire from FERS civil service in a few years. Can I collect a VA disability check, active-duty Air Force retirement check and a FERS civil service retirement check?
I am returning to my FERS civilian job after a five-year active-duty tour. It will cost $8,000 to buy back those five years to bring my civil service time up to 25 years. Should I buy back those five years, or is it a waste since I will draw the other retirements I mentioned?
Q. I served on active duty Air Force for 11 years, then in the Air National Guard for 12 years in Active Guard and Reserve status. I retired with 23 years and some change. I have been getting military retirement pay since. I have a GS civil service job now and I would like to know If I can buy back any of my military time to count toward retirement in my GS civil service job? If I can buy back any of my military time, will my military retirement pay change?
Q. I separated from active duty after 11 years and began federal civilian service. I paid $19,000 to “buy back” my military time, and I am approaching 20 years of combined service. I now have an opportunity to return to active-duty status. If I complete nine more years of active service and qualify for an active-duty retirement, what happens to my “buyback” years? I assume they won’t count toward my FERS retirement anymore, but will I get a refund?
Q. I am collecting my CSRS pension, having retired from the Postal Service in February 2011 after a combined 37+ years of service — nine years and seven months with the Air Force, and 30 years and two months with the Postal Service. I’ve worked for a private corporation for about a year and had no problem with working and collecting a pension.
But now I have an opportunity to get a job with the U.S. Census Bureau. Since it is a government agency, I figured there may be some conflicts regarding collecting a salary and a pension at the same time. But each person I’ve asked regarding a potential conflict, I’ve received a different answer, which is to say, nobody really knows the answer but everyone has an opinion.
Is there clarification that you can give to me regarding the possible conflict I may have? It may not be worth my while to take a position with the Census Bureau if my financial losses outweigh my financial gains.
Q. I have approximately five-plus years of active military service, and approximately four years of civilian time. If I buy back my military time now and later decide not to retire from the federal civil service, can I receive that money back?