Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Social Security credits

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Q. I am a CSRS employee who has worked for the government for 40 years. I also have 27 credits for Social Security. I work for my husband as an accountant for free. If I start charging him and take payments under a 1099, how many credits do I have to earn to get Social Security payments on top of my CSRS benefit when retire?

A. In 2013, you’d need to earn $1,160 to get one Social Security credit, $4,640 to earn four credits. It would take you over three years to collect the 40 credits you’d need to be entitled to a Social Security benefit.

Note: If you do become entitled to a Social Security benefit, you’ll be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system, like CSRS, where he or she didn’t pay Social Security taxes.

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