Are you a United States veteran who is also a current federal employee? Did you know that you may be able to increase your federal retirement benefits and possibly even retire sooner with the help of the Military Buyback Program?

The program, available to all veterans with active duty service time, allows federal employees who have not yet retired to get credit for the years they served in the military. That credit is then applied to their years in their current government position, which in turn can boost their pension payments and may help them retire at an earlier date.

How does the Military Buyback Program work?

According to VA for Vets, "The Military Buyback Program is a benefit for all veterans with active duty military service time to receive credit for their military service time to be added to their years of civil service with the government and increases their retirement annuity … the eligible military service time is added to their retirement date immediately upon finalizing their buyback process."

It is also worth noting that taking part in the Military Buyback Program has no effect on other veteran benefits, such as health care assistance or disability compensation.

How much will it cost to buy back my service years?

The cost of buying back your service time depends on a few factors, including when you served, how much you were paid during that time, and whether you are a member of the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the newer Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). You can view a couple of different scenarios here to help you get an idea of what you might need to pay.

Of note, veterans who apply to buy back their military service time within three years of civilian service will not be charged interest; however, interest charges will accrue after the initial grace period has passed.

Make sure you have your DD214 ready when you apply.

As is often the case when dealing with the federal government, the process to buy back your military service time can be a long and arduous one. You will first need to complete a separate Estimated Earnings During Military Service request form (RI 20-97) for each branch in which you served, to which you will need to attach your DD214 (or equivalent) to verify your active duty service and honorable discharge.

If you do not have a copy of your DD214, or if it has been lost, stolen, or damaged over the years, it's a good idea to request one before you apply for the Military Buyback Program.

Veteran-owned DD214Direct helps you get the documents you need, when you need them.

Our cutting-edge technology platform and keen knowledge of government protocol and procedure allow us to deliver your documents faster than you could get them on your own. First, we digitize both your request and the returned documents, using electronic signatures to avoid extra time with the postal service. We also integrate email and fax throughout our entire process, while many agencies do not. 

To further expedite the process, our team ensures your initial request is filled out properly the first time and includes the necessary supporting documentation so that it doesn't bounce back. In addition, we break up multiple requests (DD214, OMPF, etc.) so that each piece is handled separately and one does not delay the other. 

Once your request is processed, DD214Direct becomes your personal advocate, working directly with the agency that holds your records (currently there are about 75 independent agencies) and immediately responding to any agency issues on your behalf. In many cases, DD214Direct is able to advance your request to a higher-priority workflow. Finally, we have team members at many locations to drop off and pick up documents. 

Much like paying a small fee to have your taxes done by a professional, DD214Direct provides the service and convenience you’ve been hoping for, plus we make it a lot easier. Once we locate your DD214, we can email you a copy immediately—a service not offered by the government. And tracking your request through us is simple, so you never have to worry about long hold times and inconclusive answers.

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