Non-Appropriated Fund confusion
- By Milt x_Zall
- Nov 14, 2002
A Reader Writes:
I am currently a Non-Appropriated Fund employee. If I switch to a General
Schedule position, does my NAF service count toward retirement? Also, would
I be able to count my military service towards a GS retirement?
NAF employees are federal employees, but not civil service. However,
most of the benefits and rights are similar.
In 1987, Congress directed the re-categorization of activities to limit
the use of appropriated funds in Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs.
In so doing, many positions changed from one employment system to another
(civil service to NAF or vice versa) impacting employee benefits and entitlements.
To prevent loss of entitlements, the Portability of Benefits Act was
enacted retroactively effective to Jan. 1, 1987. To be eligible for provisions
contained within the law, the move between employment systems must have
been made without a break in service of more than three days. The law applies
whether the move is involuntary or voluntary.
Provisions are applied differently depending on how the move is made;
therefore, it is important to consult with your Appropriated Fund and NAF
personnel representatives when anticipating a move between the two systems
so that you know your entitlements under the law.
The Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 1996 provided new retirement
coverage elections for certain employees who moved within one year between
the NAF and APF systems after December 31, 1965. It expanded the retirement
election provisions of the Portability of Benefits Act.
A Reader Writes:
I have about 5.5 years of NAF service, from 1973 to 1979. In 1979, I
joined the civil service and have been in the civil service ever since.
I understand that my NAF time now counts toward the computation of my eligibility
for retirement but not the computation of my annuity. Is this correct?
Also, I further understand that, if I had switched to the Federal Employee
Retirement System (FERS), which I did not, I would be able to buy back my
NAF time to apply to the computation of my annuity. Is this correct? If
so, this doesn't seem fair, since that information was not available to
me when I decided to stay with the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).
Is anything being done to rectify this oversight?
First of all, it is correct that the NAF service will not increase the
amount of any future FERS, CSRS, or CSRS Offset annuity to which an employee
may be entitled but can be used to meet years of service requirements.
As for other information, here is a useful handbook that may help you
answer some of your questions: Portability of Benefits for Moves Between
the Civil Service and Nonappropriated Fund Employment Systems.
Zall is a retired federal employee who since 1987 has written the Bureaucratus
column for Federal Computer Week. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.