Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Earning limits

Bookmark and Share

Q. I plan to retire under CSRS offset well before I turn 62. I know at 62 my retirement will be recalculated and my annuity check will be split between OPM and the Social Security Administration. When I turn 62 and start receiving my retirement pay from both OPM and the SSA, am I bound by the earning limits set by Social Security (currently $15,480.00 annually)?

A. Yes, you are bound by the Social Security earnings limit. That limit applies to anyone who is under full Social Security retirement age and has earnings from wages or self employment that exceed the annual limit.

Tags: , ,

CSRS and Social Security

Bookmark and Share

Q. I retired at 60 under the CSRS Offset program 18 months ago which, I think, I understand fairly well.  Still: At 62 (this summer), I understand my CSRS amount will be reduced by my Social Security benefits amount. I want to confirm that the total I will receive will be substantially the same. But also, will my bank then begin receiving two deposits? Or does OPM somehow intervene so that there is but one monthly payment? Also, while I worked under the CSRS Offset program for 25 or so years (six under pure CSRS), what about the Social Security benefits that I should have accrued when I was a young man working for a grocery, a bank (during the lapse in service), and other full- and part-time jobs outside of government service? Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

Social Security after marriage

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am 64 and I am unmarried with a CSRS retirement with no survivor benefits designated. My 62-year-old future wife will begin receiving her Social Security benefits in September. I am not qualified to receive any Social Security benefits although I have paid in for 36 quarters. Will her Social Security benefits be affected by my income after we marry?

A. No, they won’t.

Tags: ,

Social Security transfer

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am a retired federal employee with CSRS. I also receive minimum Social Security payments based on my qualified earnings. My husband is a retired federal employee, FERS. In the event he passes before me, will I be able to collect/draw any of his Social Security?

A. Probably not because that benefit would be subject to the government pension offset provision. For more information about the GPO go to http://ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf.

Tags:

Social Security reduction

Bookmark and Share

Q. I’ve read about the Social Security reduction if your income is above a certain amount. Does the calculation for that amount include the FERS pension and TSP annuity payments? In other words, does the SSA consider my pension and TSP payout to be “income” they will reduce against? Or is the reduction only against “wages” from actual employment income after you reach SSA retirement age? Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

Social Security credits

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am a CSRS employee who will retire at the end of 2014. I have 36 quarters of work covered under Social Security  before I started federal service and I am trying to decide whether or not to try to get four more quarters of coverage after I retire. I understand the WEP provision. I was told at a retirement seminar that Social Security quarters do not count if earned before the age of 22 or after the age of 62. Is this true? Read the rest of this entry »

Tags:

CSRS offset to FERS

Bookmark and Share

Q. I’m an air traffic controller hired in 1985 under CSRS offset as a flight service controller and later converted to FERS with no explanation. I’m coming up on age 56, does the CSRS exemption for flight service specialists appointed prior to Jan. 1, 1987 apply? If not, which law explains the differences between CSRS and CSRS offset?

A. You were actually hired as CSRS Interim employee (CSRS and Social Security). Because you had fewer than five years of CSRS coverage on Jan. 1, 1987, you were automatically converted to FERS. Therefore, the exemption you referred to doesn’t apply.

Tags: ,

Social Security payment

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am a 23-year retired military veteran (1968-1991), 30 percent disabled, and I have been receiving military retainer pay since 1991. I then began working for the Veterans Administration as an engineer GS-09 in June 1998, and I am still employed (FERS). But I can retire soon with 16 years civil service gaining a monthly retirement pension from VA and too what I have deposited into TSP. When I retire at 66, which would be next year, what will my Social Security benefit be? I have been told it will be reduced because I have two ‘pensions’ (one from military and the other from VA under FERS), yet I paid into Social Security (FICA during military) and Social Security taxes also under VA. During all my employment time (military and civil service), I have also paid taxes into Social Security, so why would I not get full benefits? Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

Offset reduction

Bookmark and Share

Q. I’m looking to retire after 38 years of federal service, including 4+ military & 4+ postal. I left the post office and returned to federal service a year later in 1985. I was included as a CSRS Offset, paid my military deposit and have paid into Social Security for over 39 yrs. When I retire, will my CSRS retirement be affected by a reduction when I apply and receive Social Security, or will my Social Security be reduced? The way I read most articles, is that I will receive my federal pension and Social Security without a reduction. Am I correct? Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

CSRS Offset

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am a 56-year-old re-employed annuitant and CSRS Offset. I retired at 51 with 30 years of service and took an 8 percent reduction. I plan to work at least 5 more years so my annuity will be recalculated. I have been offered another government position and believe I could switch to FERS. Would I receive full benefits from FERS for the entire 36 years of service (31 under CSRS Offset and 5 under FERS) or would I receive 2 separate retirements? Also, would I be able to receive my entire Social Security benefit if I switched to FERS? Read the rest of this entry »

Social Security benefit

Bookmark and Share

Q. My husband is a CSRS retiree with 34 years of service, he also has enough credits to qualify for his own Social Security. I am a FERS employee retiring this year with 33 years of service. We are both GS-15 retirees. Obviously, my Social Security is much higher than his. Would it matter if he files for Social Security under himself or under my benefits? Or will the offset be equivalent? Read the rest of this entry »

SSDI and regular retirement pay

Bookmark and Share

Q. I retired Dec. 31, 2013, from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I worked 23 years and worked four years in the Air Force. I currently receive annuities from my high-3 and also FERS annuity supplement. Can I also receive SSDI along with my regular retirement pay? Read the rest of this entry »

Social Security earnings

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am 62 and would like to retire and receive my social security. What is the most I can earn per week without my benefit being cut?  Read the rest of this entry »

Benefits after retiring from active employment

Bookmark and Share

Q. When you stop working and start receiving pension benefits I know Federal taxes can be withheld, but I am not sure if Medicare and Social Security are still deducted. Are they?  Read the rest of this entry »

Social Security benefits

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am 61, working for postal service for 30 years and plan to retire in two years. When I start receiving social security benefits, will the income be taxable? Read the rest of this entry »

Windfall elimination provision

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am currently receiving a pension (CSRS) for the 30 years of service at USPS. I have also worked in the private sector and have paid into Social Security for 35-plus years. Will I receive a reduced benefit from Social Security when I apply? Or because of the many years that I paid into the system does the windfall elimination provision not apply? Read the rest of this entry »

WEP effect

Bookmark and Share

Q. I served 5 years, 8 months, in the military, then 30 years in the Post Office. I had roughly 6 months of sick leave to use, so 37 years total. Military time was repaid prior to VERA in June 2011. My Social Security statement is 38 credits as of 2012. My VERA incentive was calculated under Social Security. If I become employed before I’m 62, how will my annuity be affected and how much will my Social Security benefits be? Is there a calculator to determine this amount using specific amounts?

A. Because you’ll have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security, your Social Security benefit would be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP would reduce – but not eliminate – that benefit. To learn more about the WEP and how it would affect you, go to http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf.

 

Tags:

WEP and spousal benefit

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am a 63 year-old CSRS retiree with 40 Social Security credits but substantial earnings years of < 20. I think I understand the impact on my small SS benefit and the impact of the WEP provision.

My wife is 67 and waiting until she is 70 to collect her SS.

We have been reading a lot about the file and suspending of SS for the one with higher earnings, which is my wife, and the claiming now of the spousal benefit for me.

If my wife files and suspends her SS, we understand it will grow just like she did not file and at 70 she would get the full amount as calculated on the SS website.

However, as a CSRS retiree, am I eligible to apply for a spousal benefit under her since her SS is higher than mine, and if so, would there be the same WEP calculation to this spousal benefit as it would be to my own SS benefit?

Read the rest of this entry »

Disability and SSDI payments

Bookmark and Share

Q. I retired with FERS disability and was also approved for SSDI. I am receiving checks from both places, and I do not know if this is the way it normally is because in my FERS retirement benefits book, it appears that they have taken the Social Security payments into account. I called the Social Security Administration to let them know that I was approved through the Office of Personnel Management, and I sent the paperwork given to me from SSA to the folks at OPM. Will I continue to get a check from each, as it equals 60 percent of my high-3, or do I need to try to call someone again? Read the rest of this entry »

Deciding when to draw Social Security

Bookmark and Share

Q. I retired under FERS in 2008. I will be 62 next month, and supplemental benefit will stop. I’m working 1/2 time and earning approximately $17,000/year. I’ve heard that it would take till age 75 to recoup Social Security benefits lost by waiting until age 66 to start drawing Social Security. What is +/- of drawing Social Security at 62? My spouse will be 62 in March 2015. I would like to retire now! Read the rest of this entry »