By Reg Jones
Q: I am a civilian federal employee who started with the government in September 1986. Is it true that no retirement deductions were taken until Jan. 1, 1989? If this is true, how can I get credit for the two-plus years during which no deductions were taken?
A: If you were hired into a position that required deductions from your pay, you would have been covered by Civil Service Retirement Offset (CSRS and Social Security) for the months preceding Jan. 1, 1987, when the Federal Employees Retirement System went online. Your CSRS Offset time would have been converted to FERS time and, because the deduction amounts were the same, the move would have been a financial wash.
If, on the other hand, you were hired into a position from which retirement deductions weren’t taken from your pay, to get credit for any period of service up through Dec. 31, 1988, you would have to make a deposit to the retirement system for that time, plus accrued interest. As a rule, any nondeduction service performed on or after Jan. 1, 1989, isn’t considered creditable service and no deposit for it can be made.