Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Social Security and CSRS Offset service

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Q. I worked for an independent federal agency from 1977 to 1989 that had its own retirement system. I had a break in service for one year, then returned to work for the Transportation Department, where I was erroneously placed in FERS by HR. In 2006, following a FERCCA ruling that took more than 2½ years, I chose to be placed in the CSRS Offset program rather than FERS. I paid Social Security as a federal employee (plus through part-time jobs dating back to 1970) until I retired in 2010 with 32 years of service. I was told that I would receive a reduction to my pension and/or Social Security at age 62 due to the offset. I have also read that there will be no reduction since I have more than 30 quarters of SS. Should I file for SS at age 62, since I will receive a possible reduction, or will I receive no reduction in SS benefits?

A. Your CSRS Offset annuity will be reduced at age 62 by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while covered by CSRS Offset. The reduction is automatic. In addition, you may be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP will reduce your Social Security benefit if you have fewer than 30 years (not 30 quarters) of coverage under Social Security.

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