Most Important Points Guiding Military Service and Federal Annuity

Retired military pay is the monthly annuity payment for veterans who meet certain requirements. It is also known as High 36 or military retired pay. To qualify for this, service members have to stay in service for a minimum of twenty years. Since the minimum years of service is twenty years, some people choose to return to federal employment as a civilian while still receiving their retired military pay. People who choose this option will have reduced annuities upon retirement from civilian service. 

However, there is also the option of waiving the pay and having the years spent in military service count towards the federal annuity computation for the period of civilian service. 

In two rare cases, federal employees can keep both payments. They can continue receiving their retired military pay and still be eligible for their federal annuity payments without any deductions. These cases are: 

• Former service members who retire from a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces. 

• Former service members who are receiving retired pay as a result of a service-connected disability. The pay can be granted in connection to two forms of service-connected disabilities. The first is one gotten from a combat situation with an enemy of the US, and the other is a disability obtained while discharged from one’s duties during a war. 

The law allows people in either of these categories to continue receiving their retired military pay while still in federal employment and both the pay and annuity upon their second retirement. 

More details about this are contained in the retirement application form. When you fill out the form, you have to read through and carefully check the appropriate boxes in the Schedule B ̶  Military Retired Pay section. If you already receive or wish to apply to start receiving the military retired pay or retainer pay, you should check the appropriate boxes.

Also, suppose you fall in either of the two categories stated above and are eligible to keep receiving your retired military pay plus your annuity. In that case, you should also check the appropriate boxes for your category. You would also need to attach proof of the legitimacy of your claim. This is a copy of your notice of award.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) needs this proof to process your application for retirement. Though the issue can be cleared if your branch of service sends verifies your claim with the OPM. However, this takes time and can delay you from receiving your annuity payments at the right time. 

To avoid all unpleasantness when filing for retirement, ensure you have all appropriate documents sorted out months before you will need them. If you fall in the first category and have a reservist notification of entitlement for retired pay, make a copy of the document. When it is time to fill out your civilian retirement application, you have it handy to attach. 

In the same vein, if you retired based on a service-connected disability, get copies of all relevant documents ready to be attached to your retirement application.  If you are having problems with the required documents, you can contact your agency’s personnel office for help. It would point you in the right direction to get the required documents for your situation. 

It is much easier to deal with your agency than the OPM when you are facing the issue of dual credit for previous military service. Your agency will not require any proof of entitlement to estimate your civilian retirement annuity. It already has all it needs to process your retirement application form as soon as you file it. The case is different for the OPM, so get all documents ready to avoid any unpleasant delays in the process. 

Bottom Line

Many factors come to play when it comes to getting a previous military service to count towards your civilian annuity computation. For some veterans, it is only possible to receive a portion of the annuity while still receiving the retired military pay. For others, reservists and those with service-connected disabilities, the law gives room for dual credit. People in this category get credited for both military and civilian service and can live out their lives receiving monthly payments for both. 

As such, you must understand the intricacies of both situations and know that which applies to you. This would help speed up things when you are applying for retirement from civilian service and save from unnecessary stress. It would also help you know which documents you would need while filling out your retirement form.

 If anything still looks unclear, you can contact your agency’s personnel office for help.

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