Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Military and FERS retirement and buyback

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Q. Having retired in 1995 with 20 years of active-duty service in the Air Force with a 40 percent VA work-connected disability, I’m a FERS employee as of April 2000, and I intend to retire in January 2018. I’m considering buying back my military time; once my deposit has been paid in full, and I retire from FERS with a combined 37 years of creditable service, will I keep my monthly VA amount? Lastly, while I’d be forgoing my AF pension, will other privileges remain intact?

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Federal employment transfer

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Q. I served 11 years in the Air Force, am 30 percent disabled, worked for USPS for three years and have now been employed by the Department of Defense for two years. What do I need to do to see about transferring back to USPS?

A. You can no more transfer from the Department of the Air Force to the Postal Service than you could have transferred from the Postal Service to the Air Force. What you can do is apply for a job in the Postal Service.

If you still live where you did when you last worked for the Postal Service, you can talk to your old employer. If you don’t, you can talk to someone in the nearest activity’s personnel office.

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Military disability

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Q. I know that if the military loses membership due to medical reasons, they get processed out on the technician side and apply for the 60/40. If I am a federal civilian technician and I become medically unable to return to work, am I eligible for the same 60/40 disability? I am just curious about my entitlements since I have been out of work medically almost 6 months.

A. You would have to apply for disability retirement.

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Active-duty military service and federal retirement

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Q. I served 15 years active duty in the Navy, then was honorably discharged with VocRehab due to injury. I am rated at 70 percent disability and receive a check from the VA each month. I was recently offered a job with the VA hospital. Can I apply my years of active-duty service to a federal retirement with the VA? What are my best options for retirement planning?

A. Yes you can get credit for your active-duty military service, but only if you make a deposit to the civilian retirement system. That deposit would be 3 percent of your basic military pay, plus interest, if you don’t complete the deposit within two years. Just remember that you have to have five years of actual civilian service to be vested in the system and be eligible for an annuity.

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Military disability and CSRS annuity

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Q. I am receiving 40 percent disability from VA. I was wounded in Vietnam, and I plan to retire from CSRS. Will I receive less annuity from my agency since I am receiving disability pay?

A. No.

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Military injuries and credit for service

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Q. I am a new federal employee, and I am trying to get credit for my military time to go toward my service computation date. I was in the military from 1986 to 1996 had a training accident, which caused me to be medically retired.

My accident did not happen in combat but during training while theU.S.was at war. Human resources is telling me I cannot be credited because my accident is not combat-related. Is this true?

A. Because you are retired from the armed forces, you can get credit for only: 1) actual service during a war declared by Congress (includes World War II covering the period Dec. 7, 1941, to April 28, 1952) or while participating in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge is authorized; or 2) all active duty when retirement was based on a disability received as a direct result of armed conflict or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war as defined in 38 U.S.C. 101(11). “Period of war” includes World War II, the Korean conflict,Vietnam era, the Persian Gulf War or the period beginning on the date of any future declaration of war by the Congress and ending on the date prescribed by presidential proclamation or concurrent resolution of the Congress.

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