By Reg Jones
Q. I am a CSRS Offset employee with 30 years of service at age 55. If a Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay is offered and I’m accepted, can I use that money to buy back time — first year of federal service and two years of term employment in middle of my career (FICA-covered only) — to use toward my pension? I understand the years only paid to FICA apply to my total number of years but not toward my pension benefit.
Q. I am a former CSRS employee with 15½ years of service. I left the service in 1993. I need to apply for deferred retirement. Is there any benefit in waiting? I am applying for a federal position that does not close for several months and am wondering what happens once I start collecting my deferred retirement? Should I wait to apply for my deferred retirement? What happens if I take a federal job in a year?
I also took a refund of part of my CSRS deductions in 1983 (money was from 1977 to 1983) when I moved to another state. Shortly after I moved, I got a new CSRS position and worked for 10 more years until 1993 and did not take a refund when I left at that time. How does that affect my retirement?
Q. I retired in 2008 with 33 years credited, of which three were in the military. I never bought back my military time. I am almost 59 now and have 35 quarters of Social Security banked. I understand that if I get over 40 before I turn 62, my pension will be affected. Most of my Social Security quarters earned were either military (in the 1970s; wasn’t much) and part-time work.
So I do not have much money vested in Social Security.
If I get 40 quarters and my pension is offset, how can I figure how much that will be? I may decide it’s to my benefit to continue part-time work.
Q. I am working as a contractor in the PEIR Group for MSHA doing highly confidential and complex work. The position is supposed to convert to a government assignment in the coming months. What is the best strategy or documentation to use to negotiate for years of credited service for my industry expertise that makes me uniquely qualified for this work?
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.
Q. 1. If I return to the federal government, will my federal pension be reduced?
2. If I return, can this added time be recalculated to add to my existing pension? And if it is added, how long (in years) would I have to work for it to be added to my pension?
3. I retired in 2005 and received a buyout. Will I have to pay back the buyout?
Q. I have more than 17 years of federal service and contributed to both CSRS and FERS. My information:
Sylvia S. Garcia
CSRS — Fort Sam Houston, TX: 2/1981 – 9/1986 (GS-318-05)
CSRS — Kelly Air Force Base, TX: 9/1986 – 9/1996 (GS-318-04)
FERS — Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration (FV-318-D)
I withdrew my retirement contributions when I left Kelly AFB but did not withdraw my contributions when I resigned from Fort Sam Houston (and know they weren’t included in my refund), nor when I left DOT/Federal Aviation Administration. Please let me know what my options are as I am medically disabled at the moment and possibly indefinitely due to my illness.
Q. I am a 51-year-old with 32 years of service under CSRS. I am eligible to retire in 2016 when I reach age 55. I have also worked and paid into Social Security for about the same number of years. Am I eligible to receive both Social Security and my civil service retirement pension?
I would also like to know how a buyout works. If one is offered before I reach age 55, what is the payout, and will I receive my current benefits such as life and health insurance coverage?
Q. I’m doing my second tour with the Department of Justice. During my first tour (1984-2001), I was in CSRS. When I rejoined DoJ in 2007, our admin office put me into FERS, contrary to my preference. I’ve asked them repeatedly to fix what they acknowledge was their error, but they keep telling me it’s “hard” and they’re working on it. Is there a higher authority that I can appeal to about this?
Q. I served in the Air Force from 1966 to 1970 and started working for the Defense Department in 1970. My CSRS retirement contributions started at that time, and my service computation date was listed as Dec. 12, 1966. When I retired on Oct. 1, 2011, I had worked for the DoD for 40 years and nine months (44 years and nine months with my Air Force time included). With my four years of Air Force time included, I reached my 41 years and 11 months in November 2008, since I continued to work until October 2011. I thought that my retirement contributions from December 2008 (41 years, 11 months) to Oct. 1, 2011, would be returned to me. I am now being told that that is not the case.
Q. When my job was moved during a base realignment and closure, I elected to leave the organization and take my chances in the Priority Placement Program. As a result, I received a severance package that was to provide me a “wage” until I was placed by PPP.
Unfortunately, I was never placed and at the end of the one-year period and was released. How does that severance payout affect my retirement calculation? Is severance pay resulting from BRAC and PPP a separate issue that has nothing to do with retirement?
I am within three years of retiring. At that time, I’ll have 19 years as CSRS and eight years as CSRS Offset. I’ve researched various aspects of how retiring as CSRS Offset at 60 will be affected when I turn 62. I just don’t want to reach my last day at work only to be told I have to pay back the severance pay before I can receive my first retirement check.
Q. I have a friend who has been at GS-09/Step 10 for over 10 years and she has been on base for 45 years with approximately 715 hours of sick leave, which would equate to approximately four months. Once you reach the 80 percent (41 years and 11 months), how does the extra four months add in to your annuity, if you retire? For example, would four months give you, say, approximately an additional $50 or $75 on your retirement check if you retire, or how exactly does that formula work?
Q. I took an early retirement from the Social Security Administration in 2005 as a CSRS employee. In 2009, I returned to work as a full-time CSRS employee and make CSRS retirement contributions. I will be eligible for a redetermined annuity early in 2014, when I will be 56. From 1975 to 1981, I had civilian service, during which I made no CSRS contributions. I paid a deposit for this service when I retired in 2005. Office of Personnel Management regulations indicate that I will need to make another election regarding this when I retire again next year. Will I have to pay this civilian service deposit again when I retire and elect a redetermined annuity? If so (and the difference between a supplemental annuity and a redetermined annuity isn’t too great), I may retire sooner.
Q. A federal employee who has worked for the Social Security Administration under CSRS since 1975 has, according to the earnings and leave statement, $103,887.34 in cumulative retirement. What does that figure represent?
Q. I am looking for any successful challenges to the five-year rule. I began federal service July 1984, 2½ years before FERS became effective. I was placed originally in CSRS offset and then placed fully in FERS due to the five-year rule. I want to be under CSRS. I am 56, and I have 29 years of federal service and four years military service (Air Force, 1975-1979). Is there any way to beat this five-year unfair decision?
Q. I recently retired from the Air National Guard with 20 years. I’m a federal employee. Can I use my active-duty time toward the retirement with the federal government?
Q. My husband died on Nov. 8, 2012. I am a retired federal employee. I applied for survivor benefits and received a letter of approval that states I cannot be paid because two-thirds of the amount of my government pension is equal to or larger than my monthly Social Security benefit. Please contact me so if I can appeal this issue.
Q. I retired in 2009 with 37½ years under CSRS. I had no break in service. I started in 1973. I worked part time for a period while a federal employee and I had a job (short time) before federal employment.
After retirement, I went to work full time (private) and have been paying into Social Security. I got a statement from Social Security last year that shows that if I keep working at my current salary, I will collect about $680 a month at age 62 or about $1,200 a month at age 66.
I don’t believe I fall into the offset category but would like to know how/if I will be affected in both my CSRS monthly pension and Social Security.
November 21st, 2013 | annuity reduction Benefits Creditable service: CSRS CSRS annuity computation CSRS Offset EMPLOYMENT Government pension offset PAY Re-employment RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY spouse benefits SURVIVOR BENEFITS Windfall elimination provision
Q. I am a CSRS Offset employee. I had seven years and 10 months of CSRS service when I left and took my funds out. I returned as CSRS Offset after a 15-month break, did not make a redeposit and now have an additional 26 years of service.
I am looking at retiring in 4½ years at age 60. In addition, I am divorced (married 28 years and one month, not remarried). My ex-husband has always made substantially more. Based on the scenario stated, I am of the opinion that:
1. The windfall elimination provision will not apply since I will have 30½ years of paying into Social Security.
2. The government pension offset does not apply since I am CSRS Offset, and
3. I can collect Social Security based upon my spouse’s earnings since his income was substantially more than mine.
I need to know whether these assumptions are correct, and whether there are any other “offsets” as it will make the difference on whether or not I can afford to retire or need to keep working until full (Social Security) retirement age.
Q. I have 26 years of federal employment with age. 26 x 1.1 = 28.6. How is this treated for retirement? Will the Postal Service drop 0.6? Or how do I calculate the remainder? What must I do to reach a whole number?