FEDweek

Planning to Retire – Military Service Credit

Last week I wrote about the importance of attending a pre-retirement seminar, and focused on making sure that you are getting credit for all periods of employment. This week I want to focus on another kind of service for which you can get credit: active duty in the service of the United States.

The rules for getting credit under CSRS differ from those under FERS. Let me explain. If you are a CSRS employee who was hired before October 1, 1982, you’ll get credit for that time in determining your total years of service. Further, you won’t have to make a deposit for that time if you retire and aren’t eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62 (or when you retire if you are age 62 or older). However, if you are eligible for a Social Security benefit and haven’t made a deposit, your annuity recomputed without those years.

The rules are different if you are a CSRS employee who was hired on or after October 1, 1982. If you are one of them, you’ll only get credit for that time if you make a deposit. The same deposit rule also applies to all FERS employees.

If you are receiving military retired pay and want to get credit for that service in your civilian annuity, you’ll have to make a deposit to the retirement system and, at retirement, give up your military retired pay. The only exception to that rule is if you were awarded the retired pay on account 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.  Even then, you’d have to make a deposit to get credit for that time. Note: This requirement doesn’t apply to any employee who is receiving (or will receive) reserve retired pay.