Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Social Security and FICA deductions

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Q. I receive FERS benefits but am now applying for Social Security, which will be my main retirement. I got to a question on the application process that asks whether I ever earned money where FICA was not taken out. I worked for two and parts of two other year for Gallaudet College, which was at the time a quasi-government and Civil Service. Those earnings do not appear on my Social Security statement of benefits I assume for that reason. I took the retirement in a lump sum when I left that position.

I was federally employed (FERS and Social Security) from 1984-97. When computing my years of service, I inquired if I could buy back those few Gallaudet years so as to count for years of service, and I did. So the Social Security benefits application asked if I benefited from in terms of pension or annuity by the earnings I didn’t pay FICA for. So do I benefit from years of service though no credit for money earned having bought back those years for greater benefit based on years of service? Will this influence the amount of retirement due me from Social Security?

A. Yes, you benefited from that period of service where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes because when you made a deposit for that service, the time was included in determining your total years of service and used in the computation of your annuity.

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