By Reg Jones
Q. I’m a Civil Service Retirement System Offset employee with 18 years, 6½ months, under straight CSRS; 12 years, 7 months, at retirement (April 30, 2012); and with at least 40 quarters earned under Social Security before federal service. I had an appointment the other day at the Social Security Administration to see what my benefits, offset amount and windfall amounts would be. The person who I talked to had no idea about the CSRS Offset and kept calling the windfall elimination provision (WEP) an offset. She insisted she never had to consider/calculate the offset amount for the Office of Personnel Management, and that OPM would do the calculations and she just had to do the WEP calculations.
My first question: At the time of retirement, does OPM notify a Social Security office where there are people who have dealt with CSRS Offset and WEP and will calculate my benefits properly and correctly?
My second question: What figures and formula do I use to figure out my benefit amount at 64, my offset amount and the WEP amount?
My third question: My full retirement age is 66; retiring at 64 will reduce my full retirement benefit. The offset amount is calculated against the total amount I’m due at 64; that amount reduces the CSRS annuity, not the Social Security amount, and the combination of the two amounts will total the same as the original CSRS benefit. Is the WEP also calculated against the amount I’m due at 64?
A. For a primer on CSRS Offset and how and why your annuity would be offset, read OPM’s Retirement Fact 13 at http://www.opm/forms/pdfimage/RI83-19.pdf. For the full story on how the offset will be calculated, go to http://www.opm.gov/retire/pubs/handbook/C050.pdf and scroll down to Section 50A3.1.1-4.
For a primer on the WEP and how and why your annuity might be affected, read the Social Security Administration’s WEP Fact Sheet at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10045.html. Then use the calculator at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/andPiaWepjs04.htm to determine what effect the WEP would have on your Social Security benefit.
Susan Small Says:
January 25th, 2012 at 6:05 pm
I am CSRS Offset as well….the only answer I ever get about my direct, well defined questions is “read this pamplet, policy, etc.” It never answers my questions because it is too confusing. I don’t believe anyone understands this program and I am VERY concerned about my retirement.
January 26th, 2012 at 10:49 am
Don’t worry about it. I’m retired under CSRS-offset and before retirement I calculated exactly what my retirement should be to the penny using the handbook mentioned. It’s NOT difficult just a little tedious. and when I received my benefit it was completely accurate. SS doesn’t calculate anything just provides your benefit with and without offset years. There is a forumla in the book to calculate the affect of the WEP. The guy who wrote in with the question is unnecessarily complicating it. I’ll admit at the time I had a lot of questions and there was a little confusion but I was able to figure it all out and if I can do it so can you. Just use the handbook. The woman at SS that helped me just used a software program and we went through it step by step. Make sure you bring any Form 50′s you have with you.
Susan Small Says:
January 26th, 2012 at 4:17 pm
Thank you so much! This is comforting to know.