- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I’m trying to get the straight scoop on military Reserve time and whether or not it can be applied toward federal civil service retirement — (CSRS or FERS) Civil Service Retirement Service or Federal Employees Retirement System.

I know that you can “buy back” the active duty time that you were on orders for while serving in the Reserve components. My question here goes beyond that. Does Reserve duty time count at all toward years of federal civil service retirement?

I have heard both “yes” and “no.” Just to be clear here, my question refers to Reserve duty time such as weekend drills and the rest of the time spent while in Reserve status. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

Thank you for your service past and present.

Marty F.
Via the Internet

Dear Marty:

I understand from the Military Officers of America (MOAA) that the rules for using military service as credit in a civilian retirement are the same for CSRS and FERS.

The confusion among Reservists about creditable military service for civilian retirement stems from two separate issues:

1) Whether the Reservist is not receiving military retired pay at the time of civilian retirement or;
2) Whether the Reservist is receiving military retired pay at the time of civilian retirement.

If a Reserve member is not receiving retired pay at the time of separation from civilian employment, Reserve time cannot count toward civil service retirement credit.

Reference CSRS/FERS Policy Handbook, Chapter 22, Creditable Military Service, Page 8. The Reservist can only use the time served on active duty and that includes the two-week annual training periods — but not the time served on weekend duty or when not called up for active service.

If a Reservist is receiving retired pay at the time of civilian retirement, then it appears Reserve time served can be used toward civilian retirement. See CSRS/FERS Policy Handbook, Chapter 22, Creditable Military Service, Page 15 and Page 13.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance I read does not explain many of the details I still have questions about. It would be best to find an OPM expert who can provide the exact answer.

Shaft notes:

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