Reg Jones Expert's View

military service credit for retirement fedweek.com

If you served in the armed forces, that time can be used to increase your years of civilian service and increase the amount of your annuity. This week we’ll focus on employees who have served on active duty but who did not retire from the military.

Active duty service means uniformed service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, the regular Corps or Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service, and as a commissioned officer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Other creditable service includes attendance as a Midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy and as a Cadet at either U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, or the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Post-1956 military service
• Leave accrual: If you are a non-retired member of the armed forces, you’ll get full credit for any active duty service performed before you were hired by the federal government. The same is true if you are called to active duty in the service of the United States while a federal employee. Note: No credit is given for weekend duty or annual active duty for training.

• Retirement credit – CSRS: If you are a CSRS employee who was first hired after September 30, 1982, you’ll have to make a deposit to get credit for any period of active duty service. If you were hired before that date, you have options. You can either make a deposit or decide not to do that. If you don’t make a deposit and retire before age 62, are eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62, and don’t make a deposit, that service will be eliminated and your annuity recomputed without it. If you retire after reaching age 62 and are eligible for a Social Security benefit, the reduction will occur on the day you retire.

The amount of the deposit equals 7 percent of your basic military pay (not including allowances or differentials) for any active duty service before January 1, 1999. The deposit for service during 1999 is 7.25 percent, during 2000, 7.4 percent, and after December 31, 2000, it’s once again 7 percent.

• Retirement credit – FERS: If you are a FERS employee, you’ll have to make a deposit to get credit for any period of active duty service. The deposit equals 3 percent of your basic military pay (not including allowances or differentials) prior to January 1, 1999. In 1999 it’s 3.25, in 2000, 3.40 percent, and after December 31, 2000, it’s back to 3 percent.