Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

CSRS Offset

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Q. I’m a CSRS Offset employee (58 years old) contemplating retirement in 2½ years with more than 41 years of service (plus over 1,400 hours of sick leave). Eight of the aforementioned years are active military. I plan to buy back those eight military years of service. Will buying those eight years of military service neutralize the reduction I face at age 62? I have also been employed for the past 13 years with a worldwide retailer and plan on continued employment with this retailer until age 62. Is it true that my CSRS service pension would not be affected by Social Security? I’m thinking that I will be able to draw the full CSRS pension (80 percent) and early Social Security payment (age 62) with no other reductions.

A. Nothing you can do will exempt you from the reduction in your CSRS annuity at age 62, if you are retired from your government job. That reduction will equal the Social Security benefit you earned while a CSRS Offset employee. However, the amount you receive will be the same. It will just from two different places: the Office of Personnel Management and the Social Security Administration. Any Social Security benefit you earned from non-CSRS Offset employment will be in addition to that. However, if, after you begin receiving your Social Security benefit, you have earnings from wages or self-employment that exceed the annual Social Security limit, your Social Security benefit will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn above the limit. In 2013, that limit is $15,120.

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