By Reg Jones
Q. I was active Army for two years and Army Reserve for 14 years. I bought back the two years. Can I also compute and buy back the annual active training including service/months in schools? If so, do I have to show orders and honorable discharge from the Reserve? I am a civilian employee for the Defense Department with 13 years of actual employment.
Q. I have been employed in civil service for almost three years now. I am still in the process of paying for my military buyback. I had signed up for the funds to be taken directly from my pay. It took almost a year to receive all of the forms for starting my buyback. I am about to reach the three-year point when interest will be applied to the remaining balance. I am buying back more than 11 years of military service, so it is a significant amount, and I would like to send in a check to cover most of the amount I have left. I cannot locate a phone number or email or address to contact someone about this. I would like to have the balance paid before interest starts accruing. Could you help with this?
Q. The situation is this:
* 14 years active duty (and have paid deposit)
* Six more years of civil service, then left without receiving a rebate on retirement contributions
* FERS calculator says I could draw retirement at age 60 with a total of 20 years (14 + 6) of creditable service
* I continue to serve in the Reserve and will draw a Reserve retirement at age 60, as well
Will I be eligible to draw both retirements, with no relationship between them or reduction to FERS retirement after military retirement pay begins?
Q. I have four years of active-duty time and four years of reserve time, as well. Am I able to buy back this time for retirement?
Q. I’m 55, with 29 years of federal service, of which only 16 is creditable to retirement under FERS because I have never repaid my active-duty time. I am being separated due to medical reasons. I have retired on the reserve side, and so can’t remain on the civil service side. I have applied for priority placement within the local commuting area but have not received an appointment. Am I eligible for, and at what point will I receive severance pay? According to personnel, I can’t receive retirement until 62, unless I repay the active-duty time.
Note: My letter stated that I was being removed through no fault of my own, that I was eligible for immediate unreduced retirement annuity based on my federal service. Under normal circumstances, I would receive a full year of continued employment as a civilian in what was my current slot. But I was denied that year of employment based on the full 29 years which supposedly made me eligible for retirement, but I was told I could not apply for retirement based on the actual creditable time. I want to know if this was correct.
Q. I am a FERS employee with a service computation date of March 30, 1986, and a retirement SCD of Feb. 4, 1982 (I had 4+ years of active duty, for which I made a military deposit.)
My birthday is Feb. 15, 1959, so I will be 55 in February 2014 and 56 in February 2015.
If I were to receive and accept a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority offer in 2014, would I still receive the special retirement supplement until I turn 62? If so, would it start immediately when I retired, or would I need to wait until I turned 56?
Q. I am a Postal Service employee with an issue. I was on active duty from January 1985 until April 1994, when I separated from the military and entered the Reserve.
I started work at the Postal Service in 1995, and bought back my military time.
In January 2003, I was mobilized on active duty until 2013. During this period (approximately July 2011), I fell into sanctuary (18-year lock in) and was retained on active duty to complete 20 years of active federal service, Feb. 28, 2013.
I am now back at the Postal Service trying to make up contributions for my last 10 years away from the Post Office and am being told by the Human Resource Service Center that I cannot receive an active-duty military retirement check and use that time toward the USPS retirement.
My retirement orders put me in the Retired Reserves, but I do get an active-duty check, and my last DD-214 states under “narrative reason for separation”: Sufficient service for retirement.
Q. How do retirement points (1801 total points creditable), with five years, four months and two days total qualifying for retirement on my ARPC Form 249-E, figure into my military service credit? I have already completed military service credit payment for my Army active service of four years, 10 months and 16 days.
Do I have to buyback any more time before I retire with 20 years of civilian service in 2017? I am 60 years old and work as a GS-11 with the National Archives and Records Administration.
Q. I retired in 2008 with 33 years credited, of which three were in the military. I never bought back my military time. I am almost 59 now and have 35 quarters of Social Security banked. I understand that if I get over 40 before I turn 62, my pension will be affected. Most of my Social Security quarters earned were either military (in the 1970s; wasn’t much) and part-time work.
So I do not have much money vested in Social Security.
If I get 40 quarters and my pension is offset, how can I figure how much that will be? I may decide it’s to my benefit to continue part-time work.
Q. What is the reason for veterans to buy back military time when still working for the government? In my case, I went from 6½ years active Navy (1984-1991) to the Postal Service (1993-present). Shouldn’t going from one federal agency to another federal agency be a continuation of service, and shouldn’t vets get a waiver since we were willing to sacrifice our lives for our country?
Q. I am a federal employee (under FERS) and Naval Reserve retiree (20 years of service). I will receive Navy Reserve retirement pay at age 60 (in 19 years). I am considering buying back four years of active-duty Navy service. Before doing so, I’d like to ensure that this does not forfeit or waive my Reserve retirement.
Can you share the reference that states that a retiree can receive both a Navy Reserve retirement and federal (FERS) retirement after completing military buyback of the active-duty portion of a Navy Reserve career?
Q. I’m a CSRS Offset employee (58 years old) contemplating retirement in 2½ years with more than 41 years of service (plus over 1,400 hours of sick leave). Eight of the aforementioned years are active military. I plan to buy back those eight military years of service. Will buying those eight years of military service neutralize the reduction I face at age 62? I have also been employed for the past 13 years with a worldwide retailer and plan on continued employment with this retailer until age 62. Is it true that my CSRS service pension would not be affected by Social Security? I’m thinking that I will be able to draw the full CSRS pension (80 percent) and early Social Security payment (age 62) with no other reductions.
Q. I am retired from the Air Force, serving 20 years on active duty. During that time, I performed hazardous duty during the Gulf War, resulting in being granted a 100 percent total disability rating after my retirement. However, all of my hazardous duty was in the states, not in the Persian Gulf region. If I combine my active duty and my FERS service, do I have to forfeit both military retirement and Veterans Affairs Department disability pay? My actual retirement pay has been substantially reduced due the VA offset.
Q. I am a retired federal employee. I kept my Blue Cross/Blue Shield under the Federal Employees Health Benefits. My husband is retired Army and is covered by Tricare for Life, Medicare and my Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I am also covered under my husband’s Tricare but not Tricare for Life. Do I need to sign up for anything else when I turn 65 in January?
Q. I served in the Air Force from 1966 to 1970 and started working for the Defense Department in 1970. My CSRS retirement contributions started at that time, and my service computation date was listed as Dec. 12, 1966. When I retired on Oct. 1, 2011, I had worked for the DoD for 40 years and nine months (44 years and nine months with my Air Force time included). With my four years of Air Force time included, I reached my 41 years and 11 months in November 2008, since I continued to work until October 2011. I thought that my retirement contributions from December 2008 (41 years, 11 months) to Oct. 1, 2011, would be returned to me. I am now being told that that is not the case.
Q. I’m a Defense Department employee with 19 years of federal service, and I’m 37 years old (I had 12 years of active-duty military time, which I bought back toward my government time. If the Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay is offered again this year, I’m considering accepting the buyout. If I accept the buyout, can I still apply for a deferred annuity once I reach age 62? Is there much benefit to waiting until I have 20 years of federal service, as opposed to separating with 19 years? I still won’t be at my minimum retirement age (57), even if I wait until I have 20 years. I will still only be 38, and will still have to apply for a deferred annuity, so what’s the difference?
Q. I joined the Navy on Sept. 1, 1988. I joined the federal government (FERS) in December 1997. I was on terminal leave from the active-duty Navy for an overlapping 80 days (until March 1998). I paid my deposit for the military time. My agency wouldn’t change my service computation date back to June 1988. I argued that I paid a deposit for all of my time and should be “dual credited for those 80 days.” My case went to the Office of Personnel Management for a ruling, and I won. My SCD was changed to June 19, 1988. In August 2007, I joined the Defense Department (FERS Title 5). They changed my SCD back to September 1988, even though I had an SF-50 explaining everything. I made the same argument and they simply said, “That’s not how we do it in the DOD.” So I’ve read the rule covered in FERS handbook 22a6.1-4, but I can’t make heads or tails out of it. In your expert opinion, how should dual creditable time affect SCD?
Q. I saw the following in an article about federal retirement: “For any military veterans out there, you should note that if you are looking to draw on the special retirement supplement between the age you retire and age 62, only retirees with 30 years of civil service (not civil service and military service combined) are eligible for the supplement.”
Is this true? I will have 22 years of civilian service under FERS and eight years of military time when I retire this year. Will I be eligible for the supplement if I retire?
Q. I recently retired from the Air National Guard with 20 years. I’m a federal employee. Can I use my active-duty time toward the retirement with the federal government?
Q. I’m a FERS employee. I will be 52 in August 2014. I have 13 years with the Veterans Affairs Department, seven years military buyback. I have an 80 percent disability rating. Can I take the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority that is offered now at age 56 with 25 years, or a disability retirement? Will I be penalized in any way?