Will I receive a reserve pension if I buy back active service?

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The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times reader about retirement and other issues facing the federal workforce. He is answered by Reg Jones, founding member of the Executive Service and columnist for the Federal Times since 1995.

Question: I have an employee with 17 years of active service and about 3 of reserve service. He will receive a military reservist pension. If he buys back his active duty, I didn’t think he could also receive a military reserve pension. He is told that he is being given a credit of 20 years to determine his pension. Is it correct?

Reply from Reg: Employees who have served on active duty in any branch of the military may deposit for that time without affecting their reserve retirement entitlement. On the other hand, if they received – or were entitled to – a military retirement allowance, in most cases they would not only have to make a deposit, but also forfeit that allowance when they retire from their civilian employment.

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Reg Jones is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at the Federal Times. From 1979 to 1995, he was deputy director of the US Office of Personnel Management, responsible for recruitment and examinations, white and blue collar compensation, retirement, insurance and other matters. The opinions expressed are his own.

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