Reg Jones Expert's View

Last week I wrote about the importance of getting full credit for all your periods of federal employment. I went on to recommend that you attend a pre-retirement seminar, which can help you to make sure you get retirement credit where retirement credit is due. This week I’ll focus on another kind of service for which you can get credit: active duty service in the military.

CSRS rules
If you were hired before October 1, 1982, you’ll get credit for your active duty service in determining your total years of federal employment. 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 to get credit for that time, your annuity will be recomputed without that period (or periods) of active duty service.

The rules are different if you are a CSRS employee who was hired on or after October 1, 1982. You’ll only get credit for that time if you make a deposit.

FERS rules
If you are a FERS employee, you must make a deposit to get credit for any period (or periods) of active duty service.

If you are receiving military retired pay:
With one exception, to get credit for that time in your civilian annuity, you’ll have to make a deposit to the retirement system and, at retirement, give up your military retired pay. Here’s the exception. 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, you won’t have to waive your military retired pay. However, you will have to make a deposit to get credit for that time before you retire.

See also, Military Service Credit for Federal Retirement at ask.FEDweek.com

If you are receiving reserve retired pay:
You will need to make a deposit to get credit for any period (or periods) of active duty service. However, unlike military retired pay, you won’t have to waive your reserve retired pay.