Federal Retirement

Earn retirement credit for your Peace Corps service

Did you become a federal employee after your Peace Corps service? You may be eligible to "buy back" service credit toward your retirement. Some states also allow this if you are a teacher.

Also see: State and territorial retirement benefits [PDF] (Updated Aug. 1, 2019)

Employees who are covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) are eligible to receive credit for their Peace Corps Volunteer service to put toward their retirement.

If you’re eligible and would like to receive retirement credit for your service, you must make a deposit through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for your period of service. This occurs because when you finish your Peace Corps service, no money is deducted from your monthly readjustment allowance to put towards your retirement. To receive retirement credit under FERS, your deposit will be 3 percent of your monthly readjustment allowance plus interest. Under CSRS, the deposit is 7 percent of your monthly readjustment allowance plus interest.

Deposits made more than two years after October 1, 1993, or more than two years after the date on which the individual making the deposit first becomes a covered employee, whichever is later, must include interest, compounded annually and beginning on the date of the expiration of the two-year period. Please note that your training period is not creditable service.

Why buy back your service retirement credit?

To receive a monthly annuity from the federal government, you must be vested in a retirement system. Being vested in FERS or CSRS requires five years of creditable civilian service. Peace Corps staff positions are limited to 30-month tours, so having your Volunteer service credited toward retirement frequently adds enough time to meet the vesting requirement.

Also, under FERS, your retirement annuity is calculated as 1 percent of the average of your high-three average salary multiplied by your number of years of service. So, additional years will increase the amount of your annuity.

For example:
High-3 average is $70,000 and 20 years of service
1% of $70,000 is $700
$700 x 20 is $14,000 annuity per year
Adding two years increases the annuity: $700 x 22 is $15,400

Under CSRS, your annuity is calculated as 1.5 percent of your high-three average for your first five years of service, 1.75 percent of your high-three for the next five years, and 2 percent of your high-three for any remaining years.

How to request your service credit

Step 1: Once you are hired in a permanent appointment, you may begin the service credit process by completing one of the following:

  • SF-3108, FERS Application to Make Service Credit Deposit for Civilian Service
  • SF-2803, CSRS Application for Deposit
  • Redeposit (available at your agency's human resources department)

Step 2: After completing the appropriate form, request a Certification of Service letter from the Peace Corps by creating an RPCV Portal account and submitting a request.

Step 3: Once you receive the Certification of Service letter from Peace Corps, submit it, along with the other form you completed above, to your agency's human resources department. Your agency will finalize the application and send it to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for processing.

Step 4: OPM will calculate the amount you must pay for retirement credit and bill you directly. Payments are made to OPM. Receiving a bill from OPM in no way obligates you to make the service credit payment. However, interest will continue to accrue until the payment is made. If you choose not to make the payment, you will not receive credit for your Peace Corps Volunteer service in your retirement calculation.

Contact [email protected] if you have any questions.