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Are you Retired from Active Duty (drawing a pension) and have one of these? Then it’s time to earn your Military Service Credit Deposit PhD!
Are you a Federal Employee drawing retired pay from Active Duty Military service? Think there is no way to to receive additional FERS retirement credit for your Active Duty Military service (Military Service Credit), since you are already drawing Active Duty retired pay? Think again- there is a path to have your cake and eat it, too.
Why should you do this?
First, you can obtain additional Fed ‘seniority’ credit for accruing Annual Leave. Annual Leave is valuable because:
(a) It’s paid vacation time and
(b) Upon retiring or resigning from federal service you can sell Annual Leave back “one for one” and get paid for each unused Annual Leave hour at your hourly rate.
As a side note, Annual Leave is also valuable because of its “Use or Lose” life span- you can only carry 240 hours ofAnnual Leave across a Calendar (Leave) year. As a supervisor of federal employees, I can confirm that it’s a major headache to request an Annual Leave Carryover extension for an employee with 240 or more hours on the books at the end of the year. In 9 cases out of 10, it is simpler and less costly to manage the employee’s schedule so that they ‘burn’ the appropriate amount of Annual Leave before the end of the year.
So it behooves you to accrue Annual Leave as quickly as you are entitled to do it.
Per OPM, Annual Leave Accrual Rates are calculated according to your Service Computation Date for Leave (SCD Leave):
- 0-3 years of service: 4 hrs Annual Leave accrued per pay period
- 3-15 years of service: 6 hrs per pay period
- >15 years of service: 8 hrs per pay period
Using a Military Service Credit to Back-date (my terminology) your Service Computation Date for Leave can make an immediate ‘prompt jump’ in your Annual Leave accrual rate if you have 3 years of Military Service Credit. Even if your creditable time does not add up to 3 years, it accelerates your timeline to get to the next Annual Leave accrual threshold.
Specific OPM guidance from the OPM Veteran’s Guide follows (emphasis mine):
Retired from Uniformed Service
Credit for uniformed service is substantially limited for retired members. In enacting the Dual Compensation Act in 1964, Congress adopted a compromise between the view that retired members should receive preference and full credit for their service and the view that there should be no advantage for retired members.
For leave accrual, retirees receive credit only for:
• Actual service during a war declared by Congress (includes World War II covering the period December 7, 1941, to April 28,1952) or while participating in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge is authorized; or
• All active duty when retirement was based on a disability received as a direct result of armed conflict or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war as defined in 38 U.S.C. 101(11). “Period of war” includes World War II, the Korean conflict, Vietnam era, the Persian Gulf War, or the period beginning on the date of any future declaration of war by the Congress and ending on the date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or concurrent resolution of the Congress.
Second, you should request Military Service Credit to adjust your Service Computation Date for RIF (Reduction in Force). This is of no immediate benefit to you, but if in the future your agency decides to reduce headcount through RIF, your date of eligibility for RIF (and its associated immediate FERS retirement benefits) are back-dated according to your MilitaryService Credit.
Specific OPM guidance from the OPM Veteran’s Guide follows (emphasis mine):
Creditable Service for RIF–Retired from Uniformed Service
Credit for uniformed service is substantially limited for retired members. In enacting the Dual Compensation Act in 1964, Congress adopted a compromise between the view that retired members should receive preference and full credit for their service and the view that there should be no advantage for retired members. Thus, retirees receive credit only as follows:
• A uniformed services retiree who is a preference eligible for RIF purposes receives service credit for all active duty. Other retirees receive service credit only for active duty during a war as defined in Chapter 2, or service in a campaignor expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized. See Eligibility for VeteransPreference in RIF in this chapterto determine if a retiree is a preference eligible for RIF purposes.
5 U.S.C. 3501, 3502; 5 CFR 351.501(d), 351.503
So what exactly can you claim to obtain a Military Service Credit from your Active Duty career if you’re already retired (drawing Active Duty pension)?
The short answer is that you can get credit for your overseas deployment time, as documented by earning an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, or Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal.
The Long Answer is that there are specific campaigns and medals that can also add up for Military Service Credit. If you’ve retired honorably from a 20-year Active Duty career, it’s likely you’ve performed at least 4 sea duty or field tours with overseas deployments- anywhere from 12-36 months of time spent accruing ‘Expeditionary’ Medal time which is creditable service. Most of this is documented in your FITREPs, EVALs, and Page 13 entries. I can’t speak for all 3 services (yet), but the Navy has a look-up table at BUPERS in Millington where they cross-reference your dates of service vs sea tours to check and calculate your Navy Expeditionary Medal accrued time.
Once again, we shall read responsively from the OPM Veteran’s Guide:
Military Operations Since 1937 for Which a Campaign or Expeditionary Medal Has Been Awarded, Except for Operations Occurring During a Declared War
Military personnel receive many awards and decorations. To help agencies make decisions concerning entitlement to Veterans preference and other benefits, the following list identifies those awards that are campaign and expeditionary medals. Any Armed Forces expeditionary Medal, whether listed here or not, is qualifying for Veterans preference. The Department of Defense, not OPM, determines who is entitled to receive a medal, and under what circumstances. The list below is derived from DoD 1348.33-M, Manual of Military Decorations and Awards. DD 214, Certificate of Discharge or Separation from Active Duty, or other official documents issued by the branch of service are required as verification of eligibility for Veterans preference.
Campaigns and Expeditions Which Qualify For Veterans preference (Appendix A)
|Campaign or Expedition||Inclusive dates|
|Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) A veteran’s DD Form 214 showing the award of any Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal is acceptable proof. The DD form 214 does not have to show the name of the theater or country of service for which that medal was awarded.|
|Afghanistan (Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Iraqi Freedom (OIF))||OEF September 11, 2001, to present; OIF March 19, 2003, to present|
|Berlin||August 14, 1961, to June 1, 1963|
|Bosnia (Operations Joint Endeavor, Joint Guard, and Joint Forge) )||November 20, 1995 to December 20, 1996; December 20, 1996 to June 20, 1998; June 21, 1998 to present|
|Cambodia||March 29, 1973, to August 15, 1973|
|Cambodia Evacuation (Operation Eagle Pull)||April 11 – 13, 1975|
|Congo||July 14, 1960, to September 1, 1962, and November 23, to 27, 1964|
|Cuba||October 24, 1962, to June 1, 1963|
|Dominican Republic||April 28, 1965, to September 21, 1966|
|El Salvador||January 1, 1981, to February 1, 1992|
|Global War on Terrorism||September 11, 2001 to present|
|Grenada (Operation Urgent Fury)||October 23, 1983, to November 21, 1983|
|Haiti Operation Uphold Democracy)||September 16, 1994, to March 31, 1995|
|Iraq (Operations Northern Watch, Desert Spring, Enduring Freedom (OEF), and Iraqi Freedom (OIF))||January 1, 1997 to present;
December 31, 1998 to December 31, 2002 (projected);
OEF September 11, 2001, to present; OIF March 19, 2003, to present
|Korea||October 1, 1966, to June 30, 1974|
|Kosovo||March 24, 1999 to present|
|Laos||April 19, 1961, to October 7, 1962|
|Lebanon||July 1, 1958, to November 1, 1958, and June 1, 1983, to December 1, 1987|
|Mayaguez Operation||May 15, 1975 to May 15, 1975|
|Operations in the Libyan Area (Operation Eldorado Canyon)||April 12, 1986 to April 17, 1986|
|Panama (Operation Just Cause)||December 20, 1989, to January 31, 1990|
|Persian Gulf Operation (Operation Earnest Will)||July 24, 1987, to August 1, 1990|
|Persian Gulf Operation (Operation Southern Watch)||December 1, 1995, to present|
|Persian Gulf Operation (Operation Vigilant Sentinel)||December 1, 1995 to February 1, 1997|
|Persian Gulf Operation (Operation Desert Thunder)||November 11, 1998 to December 22, 1998|
|Persian Gulf Operation (Operation Desert Fox)||December 16, 1998 to December 22, 1998|
|Persian Gulf Intercept Operation||December 1, 1995, to present|
|Quemoy and Matsu Islands||August 23, 1958, to June 1, 1963|
|Somalia (Operations Restore Hope and United Shield)||December 5, 1992, to March 31, 1995|
|Taiwan Straits||August 23, 1958, to January 1, 1959|
|Thailand||May 16, 1962, to August 10, 1962|
|Vietnam Evacuation (Operation Frequent Wind)||April 29, 1975, to April 30, 1975|
|Vietnam (including Thailand)||July 1, 1958, to July 3, 1965|
Action Plan for a Federal Employee retired from Active Duty (drawing Active Duty pension):
1) Review your service record for documents of Campaigns and Expeditionary Medals listed in the above table.
2) Forward the documents to your HR servicing office to request Military Service Credit Deposit for each specific Campaign or for creditable Expeditionary Medal time (spent deployed).
3) Check that your SCD Leave and SCD RIF are adjusted accordingly.
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