By Reg Jones
May 15th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I am a 67-year-old military retiree. I retired in 1988 with 21 years of active-duty service. I draw a 40 percent VA disability, although I have three more claims, which may increase my percentage. I am also employed by the FAA as an FG-13, step 2 with five years of service. I am considering buying back my 21 years of active-duty service using a payment plan.
Because of using a payment plan, I won’t have the 21 years bought back until approximately one year before my planned retirement from the FAA.
1) Will I continue to draw my military retirement pay while making payments until I retire from the FAA, at which time I would forfeit my military retirement pay and draw my FERS retirement?
2) Once I’ve bought back my military time and I retire from the FAA under FERS, will my VA disability be affected?
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?
Q. I’m in FERS and have bought back my 10 years’ active-duty military time from Army and Marine Corps service. I have 26 years’ reserve time and retired from reserve service in 2009. I’m 50 and won’t start collecting reserve retirement until I am 60. Will I have to waive my reserve retirement if I retire from civilian service before age 60 or once I retire from federal civil service?
March 26th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I have completed 20 years in the Navy Reserve. I have been working as a GS for five years now and am 48. I am crediting my active-duty time to my GS service. It should total around seven years.
1) At age 56 (I was born in 1964), I will have 20 years of service (including the seven years of active duty I purchased). Can I begin my annuity then for the FERS retirement with no penalties?
2) At age 59, I can begin drawing my Navy Reserve retirement due to time served in a war zone. Are there any problems drawing the FERS retirement and my Navy Reserve retirement at the same time? Is that authorized?
February 20th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I retired with 21-plus years of military service and am now a federal employee.
I retired about 13 years ago and have been collecting military retirement.
I have been a federal employee for about 11 years. Can I still buy back my military service? If so, would it be worth it, and how does that work?
A. Yes, you can make a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service.
To do that, you’ll need to complete a copy of Form RI-20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it to the military finance center for your branch of service with a copy of your DD 214, Report of Transfer or Discharge. When you get that information, take it to your payroll office with a copy of your DD 214 and a Standard Form 3108.
Your payroll office will figure out how much you owe and arrange for you to make the deposit if you decide to do that.
If you make a deposit, you’ll get credit for your active-duty service in determining your total years of civilian service and have it used in the computation of your annuity. However, there’s a potential downside to making a deposit that you’ll have to consider. At retirement, you’ll have to waive your military retired pay. If you don’t, credit for that active-duty service will be eliminated and the amount you deposited returned to you, with accrued interest.
Q. I’m a civil service employee covered by FERS. My agency is offering Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay. I am 62 and receiving military retired pay. I’ve been told that I’m not eligible for either VERA or VSIP because I’m receiving military retired pay. Is that true?
A. Not that I’m aware of. According to the Office of Personnel Management:
Employees in the following categories are not eligible for VSIP. Employees who:
1. Are re-employed annuitants;
2. Have a disability such that the individual is or would be eligible for disability retirement;
3. Have received a decision notice of involuntary separation for misconduct or poor performance;
4. Previously received any VSIP from the federal government;
5. During the 36-month period preceding the date of separation, performed service for which a student loan repayment benefit was paid, or is to be paid;
6. During the 24-month period preceding the date of separation, performed service for which a recruitment or relocation incentive was paid, or is to be paid; and
7. During the 12-month period preceding the date of separation, performed service for which a retention incentive was paid, or is to be paid.
December 5th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. Can a FERS employee with active-duty time, then Army Reserve time, then sanctioned as a USAR to retire and receive a retirement check, immediately buy back his active-duty time to count toward his civilian time?
A. An employee can always make a deposit to get credit for any periods of active-duty service. If that employee receives reserve retired pay, he can receive that and his civilian retired pay without a reduction in either. If he receives military retired pay, in most cases he’ll have to waive that pay to get civilian credit for his active duty service.
Q: If I buy back my military time, can I collect both military retirement and Federal Employees Retirement System benefits?
My situation is this: I am 58 years old, and I started a job with the federal government Sept. 26, 2010. My prior military service consists of nine years on active duty and 14 years in the reserves. I have submitted the forms to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and have received my cost calculation to buy back my active-duty years.
I am eligible to collect my military retirement when I turn 60. I plan to continue working for the federal government until age 70, which would give me 12 years of actual federal service plus the buyback of the nine active-duty years. Can I collect my military retirement at age 60 as scheduled, and when I retire at age 70, collect both retirements? Is that considered double-dipping, because the nine active-duty years are used to complete the required military time to qualify for retirement?
I have read answers that go both ways; some say I can collect both, others say I will need to sign a waiver to decline my military retirement pay in lieu of FERS pay. If the latter is the case, does that mean I can collect my military retirement until such time that I retire from federal service, then sign a waiver to decline further military retirement and receive FERS pay? If that is so, is that financially to my benefit?
A: Because you are retiring from the reserves, making a deposit for your years of active-duty service won’t have any affect on the timing or amount of your reserve retired pay. It will be used to increase your years of civilian service and be used in your annuity calculation. Only members of the military who are retiring from active duty are required to both make a deposit for that time and waive their military retired pay.
November 5th, 2010 | Uncategorized
Q: I just recently became employed as a GS. In reviewing my Notification of Personnel Action form (SF-50), I had a number of questions which I asked of our human resources personnel: The form indicated I have no veterans’ preference and no creditable years of military service, though I have almost 25 years of service. The response I received was that I would have to surrender my pay and purchase the years of military service if I want to have it credited for civilian service. I have no intention of doing this. I was referred to the Office of Personnel Management VetGuide, which did not answer my questions. Can you tell me what is correct?
A: Unless your branch of service confirms that your military retired pay was awarded on account of a service-connected disability either incurred in combat with an enemy of the U.S. or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war, your HR personnel are correct. Even if they do confirm that, you’d need to make a deposit to the civilian retirement system to get any credit for that period of active-duty service.
Q: I will soon be accepting a GS-13 position with the Department of Homeland Security. I am retired military and understand the buyback system; my question pertains to leave accrual. How will leave accrual be determined if I choose (or choose not to) to buy back my military time?
Also, I have two deployments for which I received an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. Is that time automatically approved for leave accrual?
A: Unless you make a deposit for your active-duty service and waive your military retired pay, you’d only get leave accrual credit for those periods of service when you were participating in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge was authorized.