Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Civil service annuity and Social Security

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Q. I am retired from the Postal Service under CSRS and get the maximum annuity. What happens if I become eligible for Social Security? (I work a part-time job two days a week.) Right now I have 28 credits. Should I make sure I do not get 40? What happens if I am eligible and do not apply for it? Would that prevent me from losing any of my annuity? I want to make sure I do not mess up or reduce my pension from civil service. Read the rest of this entry »

Insurable interest annuity

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Q. I just read a question on your site about a son getting a possible payout from what is left of his mother’s CSRS retirement when she passed away. I’m confused. If this is the case, meaning there is a death benefit when the CSRS employee passes, why would anyone select a survivor benefit? Read the rest of this entry »

Social Security spousal benefit

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Q. I am 60 years old with a USPS pension (CSRS). I have earned 40 credits with side jobs to collect Social Security at age 62. My wife is 56. Can I get Social Security using her work record to increase what I get? Mine is $330/month before WEP. Please let me know the best scenario for me. Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS deferred retirement

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Q. I was eligible for subject retirement at age 62 on Feb. 19, 2012, but I didn’t apply for it and am now applying at age 65. What will happen to the annuity I could have taken during the three years I was eligible but did not apply for? Read the rest of this entry »

Unused sick leave over 41 years 11 months CSRS service

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Q. I have over 41 years 11 months creditable service under CSRS. I also have unused sick leave to take me over the 80% max threshold. I used the chart to convert sick leave hours into months and days (rounding up). Does sick leave just get added to the credible service years, months and days, or is it done separately? Also if it is added to the credible service and the days are dropped, does that mean that I can potentially lose up to a month of sick leave days? If so, should I begin taking sick days when I need them, instead of using annual leave, so I don’t just lose them?
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Disability retirement conversion to other retirement

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Q. I was retired on CSRS disability with 30 years of service at age 52. OPM has sent me a letter that I have made too much money for 2010 through 2012. I would have been eligible for full retirement in July 2009 (and will be age 60 in July 2014). What are my options? Can I convert to full retirement or discontinued service retirement? Can I do this retroactively to 2009? Read the rest of this entry »

Surviving spouse’s retirement benefits

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Q. My husband retired under CSRS, and I expect to retire under FERS in a few years. When he retired, he elected survivor benefits for me, and I will do the same for him. What will be the rate the survivor will receive: only their benefit or their benefit plus the survivor portion? The answer will make a big difference in how comfortable we can live in retirement, before and after one of us passes. Read the rest of this entry »

Military deposit refund for CSRS

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Q. I am CSRS and presently employed be the Air Force. I paid my military deposit in full, and as I will never have Social Security quarters, I would like to have it refunded back to me. Although OPM cannot quote the regulation, they said that if I was still making payments on it I could request a refund but because it is paid in full I cannot. Can you quote the regulation that states that? Can you quote the regulation that says that I can have this refunded! Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS Offset, Social Security and WEP

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Q. I am 69 years old and will be 70 in December of this year. I was rehired by the government in January 2013 after a 31 year break in service. I had almost 12 years of prior service and I withdrew my CSRS retirement fund when I left the government in 1981. I am now planning to retire at the end of March of 2016 when my High-3 will be reestablished at my current GS12-10 salary. Since I have over 30 (consecutive) years of substantial earnings under Social Security, will the windfall elimination provision come into play when I retire?

Also, I did not repay the amount I withdrew in 1981, and additionally, I am currently collecting my Social Security benefit and have been since 2010. How will these circumstances effect my CSRS retirement and/or Social Security benefit when I finally retire at the date I mentioned? Read the rest of this entry »

Calculating service time

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Q. Is the annuity based on years of service or years and months? If I retire with creditable service of 29 years and nine months, will I only receive an annuity based on 29 years or will the additional months months be factored in (pro-rated)?
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CSRS annuitant considering reemployment

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Q. I’ve read where normally one’s salary is cut by the amount of annuity he or she is receiving, but what happens if the new salary is less than the existing annuity? Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS and Social Security disability

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Q. I was a federal worker covered by CSRS from 1975 to 1989. On leaving, I left my deposits there in the hope I would return. I did not, but I joined the reserves and worked the private sector.

In 2008, I was discharged from the military. I was 53 when discharged.  I am considered unemployable by the VA and also receive Social Security Disability benefits.  There was a big hole in my Social Security deposit sheet the years I worked for the federal government and therefore receive a reduced SS  disability benefit.

Since I am considered disabled currently, am I eligible for an offset or do I have to wait till I am 62? Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS survivor benefits

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Q. My wife’s uncle (age 87 with 42 years CSRS) asked me to find out if his wife would continue receiving his retirement should he die first. His wife is under social security retirement after a career in nursing. She is 85, both have been retired for a long time. In this scenario, how would her future retirement be computed? Read the rest of this entry »

Social Security benefits and federal pension

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Q. I am retired from the FBI.   I have 22 years covered under CSRS and 11 under FERS.  Because my FERS supplement ends in August when I turn 62, I plan to apply for Social Security,  who has advised my monthly benefit payment will be 1120.00.  My FERS supplement is approx 500.00 per month.  My question is:  When I begin receiving social security benefits in August, will I receive the entire 1120.00 or will it be reduced? Read the rest of this entry »

Applying for CSRS years after a RIF

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Q. My husband and I were both hit with reductions in force (RIFs) in 1997 due to base realignments, and while I managed to return to civil service, he did not.  Both of us were on CSRS, and I am still covered by CSRS.

Is there any way we can accurately determine what his CSRS benefits would be in advance of applying for retirement?  And how do we apply for CSRS retirement when there’s been such a long break in service? Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS offset

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Q. I am CSRS offset and can retire later this year.  I have two questions.

1) As someone who works on a regular basis on Sunday and receives Sunday premium pay, is this premium pay part of calculations for my retirement annuity?

2) I spent 10 months in Iraq as a US Corps of Engineers civilian army employee.  One adviser told me that my hazardous/combat pay counts towards my high-3 for retirement purposes.  Another adviser said the opposite. Which is true?

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Medicare is not deducted from annuity

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Q. I plan to retire within the next year but have some questions. I am a CSRS-Offset with 34 years of employment. I understand that after I start receiving the payments Social Security will not be taken out. Does that also include Medicare and state withholding taxes? So, if my annuity estimate states that I will receive $2,700 per month, is the only deduction I will have off of that my insurance if I choose to continue it? Also, if you deduct the withholding of Medicare and state taxes, will I be able to get them back when I file for my income taxes? Do I have to claim this retirement money as income on my taxes?

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Retirement date

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Q. What are the differences if my retirement date is Nov. 29, 2014, or Dec. 1, 2014? I will be retiring from the Postal Service as a Level 18 postmaster. I am retiring under CSRS. My service computation date is July 6, 1979. I will be turning 55 on Nov. 16. I have worked continuously at the Postal Service, and I have 1,848.84 hours of accumulated sick leave.

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11 questions on military buyback

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Q. 1. How are the days of active-duty service calculated?

2. Is that a one-to-one credit added to years of service?

3. Can you buy it back after you retire and adjust the annuity accordingly?

4. Can you buy back portions of it?

5. Can you pay in installments?

6. What percentage of military pay per year would you get in retirement? For CSRS, it is roughly 2 percent based on high-3; would it be calculated on actual salary back then or adjusted for inflation?

7. Any chance for a retroactive payment once established?

8. Will I lose any benefits if I do this?

9. Can I do this if I was not in the military long enough to earn a pension?

10. How does Social Security fit into this picture?

11. Can I get all three (FERS/CSRS, Social Security, military/Defense Department) separately? What is the penalty for collecting multiple pensions if done separately?

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Military retirement + civilian retirement

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Q. I left active duty after 14 years and joined the reserves. Due to my specialty in certain investigations (CID agent), I was involuntary mobilized prior to obtaining a civilian (1811) job. I was mobilized for four continuous years, bringing my active-duty time to 18 years. Once off active duty, I was able to report for my first day of work as an 1811 in the GS. Since I was not eligible for active-duty retirement, I was able to use my 18 years for sick/vacation time. My unit is planning to mobilize this year (for a year), and my plan is to mobilize and hope to stay on until reaching 20 active-duty years, thereby clinching an active-duty retirement. If I buy the 18 years back now for the GS civilian job, and then I mobilize for two years, would I be eligible for the active-duty retirement since I will have reached 20 years?

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