“I am a current federal employee and retired from the Army under the category of a gray-area retiree, which means I did not complete 20 years of active-duty service. Therefore, I don’t start drawing my retirement pay until I am 60 years old. I have 9 years of active-duty time, which I started buying back several years ago to receive credit in the federal government for my military service. Do I have to completely buy back active-duty service before I start drawing my military retirement to receive my service credit?
To get credit for your active duty service, you’ll need to complete that deposit before you retire from your civilian job. Whether you’ll have to waive your military retired pay will depend on its nature. If it’s military retired pay, you’ll have to waive it. If it’s reserve retired pay, you won’t.
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Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service, is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.