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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Default Military Service & Retirement

    I'm currently in the USAF, been in 6 years, and have another 4 years left. I am seriously debating getting out of the AF to go to school to become a Paramedic. If I manage to get hired with a fire department, will my 10 years of military service transfer over to the department's retirement program? Or will I be starting from scratch?

    I know some may say 10 years is halfway to retirement, why not do another 10? But it's about job satisfaction, I can't do this job for another 14 years, and all of the jobs that are available to cross-train into do not interest me one bit.

    I joined the military at 23, and I had been working as a resident firefighter and EMT, so I received my FF-1 and EMT-B, but I know the EMT-B has cert has lapsed, because I've been overseas my entire time and was unable to take the test again. I do know that I absolutely loved the job, but then I got a "bug up my ***" about living overseas and serving in the military, so I joined the AF, best and worst decision of my life, met my wife here in Japan but gave up a job I really loved.

    Sorry to type so much, just wanted to give a background as to why I'm contemplating this decision, before anyone calls me an idiot for getting out of the AF when I'm halfway to retirement.

    Thanks for any help!


  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    89

    Default

    I am in the same boat as you...

    I have talked to the civilians FF's here at my base, all of them did some time in the AF. They told me that if you work for the state, example city fireman, cop, state employee, or a federal job, fed fireman. that you can "buy back" your military time for retirement.

    Example: say you did 10 years in the military. if you BUY back your military time during the course of your new job, then when you are eligible to retire at the new job they add the 10 years from military to it. So, someone does 20years working for the state, and they had 10 years military time prior to employment, when they retire from the state they will pull a retirement as if they did 30 years at that job.

    I am not sure the cost of the buy back, but you can have it taken out a little at a time, you dont have to pay for it all at once.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
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    Jan 2008
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    Utah
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    240

    Default

    I can't speak for the state/city jobs, but for federal jobs (even if it isn't ffer) you can buyback your military time. You are absolutely correct in your explanation, but keep in mind that it does not add to your retirement eligiblity date, just the years 'you put in'. For example, i served 6 years and bought it back. After 20 years in the federal service (the minimum time to be eligible for retirement) I can retire and collect retirement for 26 years of service. The costs depend on how much money you made during your service time, how long you wait until after you separate, and the amount of time served. If you wait for more than 3 years then the amount you owe accrues intrest. I think I wound up paying ~$800 for 6 years and I filed a month after separation/starting my federal civilian career.

    Your local civilian benefits office can hook you up with information on buying back your time, and yes, you can pay it in allotments or lump sum. You work that out with you finance office.

    ref: http://federalretirement.net/militarybuyback.htm

    You would fall under FERS retirment if you were to get hired for federal service.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Default

    How does this work of you go from active duty to DoD fire? My husband will have 5 yrs in and we hoping to get in DoD fire where we are stationed here at Fort Rucker.

    Thanks for posting your question.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
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    May 2009
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    The answer to your question has been answered on this thread and can be found on the internet.. If you have 5 years active duty and you get hired as a Federal Employee you can buy back those 5 years active duty and add them tour your federal retirement. You can not use them to make yourself eligible to retire only add to. So if you do 20 years you can add your 5 active duty if bought and paid for.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    USA
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    347

    Default Military Service

    In the event that you take employment in a place that you cannot "buy back" your military time for retirement, there is the option to join the reserves (Army, Navy, etc.) or National Guard and use those active duty years toward that retirement.

    If you served four years of active duty and ended up in non-gov't employment (private ambulance service, etc.), joined the reserves and served the remaining years (16 in this example) to obtain 20 total years, you would still be able to use those active duty years for reserve retirement.

    Just an option, if you end up working Fire/EMS for a non-gov't employer.

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