Helping Federal Employees and Annuitants Understand Their Benefits


Military Deposit Guidance

How to Make a Military Deposit For Creditable Service


Military Deposit Eligibility, Benefits, and Application Process

Military service may be creditable towards civilian service. As a general rule, military service in the Armed Forces of the United States is creditable for federal retirement purposes if it was active service terminated under honorable conditions, and performed prior to your separation from civilian service.  

A DD-214 or equivalent is required to verify the service dates and discharge. There are benefits to obtaining credit for your military service including an increased federal annuity when you retire. Federal employees with military service must understand how military credits impact their benefits and need to take action early on in their careers to avoid paying penalties that are assessed if you delay making a military deposit.

CAUTION - OPM's Benefit Administration Letter # 13-103 discontinued military service deposits after separation. The military deposit process is drawn out and it can take months to receive your military earnings estimate and contribution amount. Start the process early, long before you intend to retire, to ensure your military deposit is paid prior to separation. A link to Administrative Letter #13-103 is provided under the Resources heading on this page.

WEP Header


Military Deposit Procedures Menu



Retired Military & Military Deposits

Retired military members must waive military retired pay in order to receive credit for military service in a civilian annuity, unless your military retirement is based on:

  • A service-connected disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the US;
  • On account of a service-connected disability caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war; or
  • Under provisions of 10 U.S.C. 12731-12739 (retired members of the reserves).

If you are retired military and are receiving full military retirement pay, it is not usually advantageous to make a military deposit, because you must waive your military retired pay for the service period to be included in the civilian retirement annuity.  Usually the full military retirement is of greater value than the civilian retirement annuity.  If you are uncertain if making a military deposit is beneficial, simply request two retirement estimates from your HR office – one with the military service included and one without, then compare the difference.  A deposit is usually required for the active duty military service to be credited in your civilian retirement annuity.

NOTE: Retired military that buy back their years of service have to waive their military retirement pay when they retire from federal civil service. You will still collect your military retirement until you start receiving your civil service retirement. Many military retirees often enter federal civil service in their early to mid 40s. It they find it advantageous to buy back their military time and add that time to their FERS retirement, they will still collect their military retirement until they elect to retire from the civil service at their MRA, age 60 or 62 or later. Review the article on this subject to determine if it is worth your while to buy back your retired military time. Also review Chapter 22 of the CSRS and FERS handbook listed below.

Reserve & ANG Service

National Guard/Reserve Point retirement (which is less than 7300 Active Duty points) and receivable at age 60 can be collected concurrently with a federal civil service retirement. Your Reserve or ANG time will not impact your CSRS or FERS annuity payments. For additional information on service credit review Chapter 22 of the CSRS and FERS handbook.

If you retired from the reserves, making a deposit for your years of active-duty service would not affect your entitlement to reserve retired pay if the retired pay was awarded under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. 12731-12739 (Chapter 1223).  This is the part of the law that grants retired pay to members of reserve components of the armed forces on the basis of age and service (active and reserve). Only those employees receiving military retired pay - not reserve retired pay - are required to waive that pay to get credit for the time in computing their civilian annuities.

Steps to Making a Military Deposit

Former military members wishing to have their military time count towards federal retirement are should follow these easy steps:

  1. Obtain your total estimated military earnings by sending form RI20-97 and a copy of your DD214 to your respective military pay representative. Use a separate request for each branch of service, if you served in more than one branch.  Individuals who do not have a DD 214 or equivalent should get a SF 180 from the personnel office and have their service verified before forwarding the request form to the pay center.  The pay center cannot provide estimated earnings unless verification of service is attached.  The military payroll office will send you a short letter or form indicating your total estimated earnings during your military service.
  2. With you total military earnings and a copy of your DD-214 in hand, contact your HR office. You will need to complete one more form (SF-3108 or SF-2803).  This form requires a statement on the form concerning military deposits, which is not available on the on-line version.  Obtain the edited form from your HR office.  HR will forward the documents to your civilian payroll office.  Your payroll office will bill you directly.
  3. Make the deposit to your civilian payroll office.  You can pay the deposit in one lump sum, a series of payments, or sign up for payroll deductions, normally for as little as $50 per pay period.  The deposit must be paid in full while you are employed and cannot be made after you retire. 
  4.  When the deposit is complete, your payroll office will send you a letter that the deposit is paid in full.  Keep this document for your permanent retirement records and send a copy to your HR office.  Payroll will not usually notify your HR office of the deposit, so it is very important that you retain a copy of this letter until you retire. 



Home Page
Back to Military Buyback Menu
Back to Top