Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

GS question

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Q. I recently applied for a GS-501-12/13 financial management analyst and was graded at a GS-12. However, I was a FP-501-3 financial management officer (GS-13 equivalent) for three years and have been a GS-511-13 auditor for the last eight years. Plus, I have a master’s in accounting. Thus, I think I should be graded at a GS-13. I had an interview and mentioned my concerns about the downgrade. I was told that if I was offered a position, I would need to take it up with Human Resources directly. If I get an offer, can I appeal the grading as a condition of acceptance?

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Step 00

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Q. I am currently a federal police officer under the GS scale, who previously served under the AD system. Under the AD scale, I was making more than the current GS scale and a recent new hire from the Department of Homeland Security received a step 00. What is this step, and how is it applied?

A. Step 00 is the symbol used to designate a retained rate, one that is above the 10th step in the regular pay scale.


Going back on active duty

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Q. I am currently working as a General Schedule employee, and I have bought back my eight years active duty. It is paid in full. If I go back on active duty, would I get that deposit paid back to me, or do I lose it?

A. It would only be paid back in you separated from the government and asked for a refund of all your retirement contributions. Doing so would void all future entitlement to a retirement annuity.

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From NAF to federal

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Q. If I worked as a nonappropriated funds employee flex for six months and then was hired as a regular part-time employee for a year and a half, then transferred over to a full-time GS federal employee with no break in service at all. I used four annual leave days only then I went into my federal full-time job. I have been told that they are counting my NAF time in with my federal, but I still missing that year and a half. How can I get this taken care of and will they count my flex time as well?

A.  This is a complicated area with a lot of wrinkles in it. I suggest you go to and look for your answers there. If you can’t find them on the site, click on For Further Assistance and follow the directions there.

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