When they retire, most federal civilian employees who are receiving retired military pay have to decide whether to keep that pay or waive it and have those years of military service credited in their civilian annuity computation. However, there are two groups of employees who are eligible to continue receiving military retired pay and have that time credited in their civilian annuity. Are you one of them?

You are if you are a former member of the Armed Forces who retired from a reserve component of the Armed Forces. And you are if your retired pay was awarded because of a service-connected disability either incurred in combat with an enemy of the United States or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war.

When you fill out an application for retirement, you’ll find a section on the form that deals with military retired pay: Schedule B – Military Retired Pay. There you have to check the appropriate boxes next to a series of questions about your receipt of (or application for) military retired or retainer pay. If you qualify under either of the dual credit provisions, you should check the correct “yes” box. Then you’ll need to verify your claim by attaching a copy of your notice of award.

If you don’t attach any proof, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) won’t be able to process your retirement application until it receives verification from the branch of the Armed Forces in which you served. That will delay your receipt of a retirement annuity until the issue is resolved.

To avoid such a delay, you should get your service history sorted out now. If you already have a notification of entitlement for retired pay as a reservist, make a copy and – when you get ready to retire – remember to attach it to your civilian retirement application. Likewise, if your retired pay is based on a combat incurred disability, be sure to attach a copy of the appropriate documentation. If you can’t locate the necessary paperwork, don’t despair. Your agency personnel office can help you find the correct place to get that information

While your agency will usually estimate your civil service retirement annuity and even process your retirement application without any proof of entitlement to receive dual credit for you military service, OPM won’t. Therefore, it’s up to you to provide that proof. Not only will it save time but also it could help you avoid a major surprise. It would be a real blow if you thought you were entitled to receive both military retired pay and credit for that service in your civilian annuity and then learned that you weren’t.