The following is a question submitted by a reader to Federal Times columnist Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and the resident expert on federal employee retirement issues.

A Fed Times reader asks:

“I currently have four years of creditable service in FERS. I am buying back 15 years and seven months of military time.

If I decided to leave civil service and file for deferred retirement at age 60 or 62, will the 15 years seven months count towards the five-year requirement?”

Reg’s response:

First things first: You have to have five years of actual FERS service to be vested in the retirement system.

Once you are vested, you can make a deposit to get credit for your all active duty service. If you did that, you’ll have at least 20 years of creditable service and could apply for a deferred retirement at age 60.

Got a question for the Federal Times expert? Send inquiries to: fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service, is our resident expert on retirement and the federal government. From 1979 to '95, he served as an assistant director of the Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.

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