Service Buy Back for Federal Employees


Key Takeaways

  • Fed employees should do this ASAP
  • Short-term gain with Annual Leave
  • Long-term gain with retirement
  • Roughly $250 one-time cost


Did you know as a federal employee (and some state-level employees), your time served in the Peace Corps can count towards your service computation date? This means the time served can be attributed to your onboarding date and thus better your retirement benefits (get out early or get a higher percent later), plus it moves you closer to a bump up in the annual leave hours received each pay period!

To Buy Back Your Service:

1. First, email a request for your letter of service and the months served (Pre-service training not included) to or log in through the RPCV Portal.

2. Once received, confirm that your period of service and earning amount is on the service letter so that an accurate calculation can be provided by the OPM as to how much is owed.

3. Then, send the letter to the HR representative or HR office provided to you by your department or agency and indicate that you’d like to buy back your service. Some agencies will request additional documentation to certify your service.

4. After your HR representative is satisfied, they’ll submit everything to OPM, at which point you may need to wait a couple months until you receive a bill to pay the balance owed. If more than 2 months, reach out to your HR representative who will in turn reach out to OPM. OPM will not provide a status update if you ask directly.

5. Upon receiving the bill, pay the amount to OPM so that interest does not accrue. This amount is about $250 and is calculated based on length of service and how much was earned during service. It may seem like a decent amount, but you’ll earn this back once you get a bump in annual leave and long-term retirement benefits.

6. When OPM sends you a new balance indicating that your balance or deposit has been paid, forward this along to your HR representative who will then update your service computation date and you’ll be credited!

That’s it! We highly recommend you do this as soon as possible to reach leave and retirement goals and so that interest doesn’t build up. Remember, the service buy back program is a unique opportunity that other industries don’t pay you for. Don’t let it slip away and contact your HR representative or office ASAP!

One thought on “Service Buy Back for Federal Employees

  1. Christina says:

    Awesome article! I bought back my Peace Corps service when I first started at EPA, and now I accrue annual leave at a much faster rate. Thanks for the great information!

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