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An Overview of Retiree Restrictions

Service member writing in a document.

Retirees should not engage in personal or professional activities which are incompatible with the standards of conduct expected of active duty personnel.

It is not feasible to cover all the provisions of law which restrict the activities of retired servicemembers. If there is any doubt as to whether or not a retiree may be in violation of a particular law by accepting employment with the Federal Government or with a firm doing business with the Government, advice on the matter should be obtained from the Ethics Counselor of the organization from which you retired or at the nearest military legal office.

Additionally, Post-employment restrictions for all retired military officers and civilian employees who retire or separate from the service or government employment on or after Jan 1, 1991, have been incorporated in Title 18, U.S. Code 207, as follows (they differ from the pre-1991 rules shown in parenthesis).

  • May never make a formal or informal appearance or any oral or written communication on behalf of another, with the intent to influence any officer or employee of any department, agency, court, or court-martial of the United States or the District of Columbia vs. "to influence any government entity, officer, or employee") regarding any particular matter involving specific parties in which he ever participated personally and substantially for the government.
  • May not for two years after terminating official responsibilities with the government make a formal or informal appearance or any oral or written communication on behalf of another, with the intent to influence any officer or employee of any department, agency, court, or court-martial, of the United States or the District of Columbia (vs. "to influence any government entity, officer or employee") regarding any particular matter involving specific parties which was actually pending (vs. "was pending") under his official responsibility in the last year of government employment.
  • (Added) For one year after terminating official responsibilities with the government any person who had personally and substantially participated in any ongoing trade or treaty negotiations, may not knowingly represent, aid or advise any other person concerning such ongoing trade or treaty negotiations.

Senior personnel -- those in retired pay grades O-7 and above and civil service employees GS-17 and above -- have similar post-employments restrictions.

Military Retiree Responsibilities

Retirees are reminded that they have certain military responsibilities and obligations even after they retire from active service. Here are some of them:

  • Avoiding possible conflicts of interest by observing military standards of ethical conduct by complying with government employment restrictions and reporting requirements.
  • Obtaining prior approval before accepting employment with a foreign government.
  • Keeping family ID cards current and turning them in when they are longer authorized.
  • Registering family members and updating their status in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).
  • Informing your branch of service Accounting and Finance Center of changes in marital status, address or any change that would affect your Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP).
  • Making sure your spouse knows the location of military/family records and how to contact the nearest casualty assistance office in the event of your death.
  • Wearing the uniform in accordance with official directives