Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Social Security payment

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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 »

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Offset reduction

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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 »

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CSRS Offset

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

 

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WEP and spousal benefit

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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?

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Disability and SSDI payments

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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

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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 »

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 »

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 »

Social Security benefits for military service

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Q. How could I find out if I am getting military benefits from Social Security? I was in the military from 1960 through 1964 and began receiving Social Security benefits in 2004.

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WEP for resident aliens

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Q.  Can explain why the windfall elimination provision applies to a current U.S. resident alien for a period when he was neither resident in the U.S. nor working for a U.S. company overseas. Read the rest of this entry »

FERS and Social Security

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Q. I am 66 years old, which is my full retirement age. I worked from 1966 to 1970 for the federal government. I was in CSRS. My credit was three years and 11 months. I stopped working in 1970 to raise a family. I withdrew the money I had paid into CSRS. Between 1970 and 2001, I held a few non-government, small, part-time or intermittent jobs in which I paid into FICA. I returned to work for the Army in December 2001. I was automatically put into FERS, so began paying into FICA and FERS. I have paid back with interest the amount I withdrew from CSRS in 1970. This will give me 16 years and three months of FERS.
I have submitted my retirement packet and applied for my Social Security pension. When I applied for SS, the form asked if I had worked at any time without paying any FICA. I said yes. The next question was “Was it government?” I said yes. Is this going to affect my SS pension? I do not really understand the Offset and Windfall rules. Read the rest of this entry »

FERS disability for term employee

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Q. My husband is a helicopter maintenance instructor on a term-appointment due to expire Dec. 31, 2014. He was taken out from his position as a primary instructor and put in the an assistant instructor position due to memory problems that are affecting his ability to teach and do proper fixes on the aircraft. His supervisor recommended in a counseling statement that he seek medical attention to identify any issues. He has been recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and excruciating face pain. He will meet the MRA + 10 retirements in August of this year (all term appointment time) but that provides very little in way of an annuity. Is he eligible to apply for FERS retirement disability? Does he have to apply for Social Security first? He is retired military but receives no disability benefits from the Army or VA. Read the rest of this entry »

Planning for retirement

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Q. I will be 62 the end of June this year. I am in FERS, would like to retire this year and am trying to make a sound decision regarding what date would be best.
1) I have 918 sick hours accumulated. Will they convert 100% into service time?
2) When trying to calculate how much I will get for retirement, is it based on basic pay or total pay with locality adjustment?
3) Is there any penalty if I retire at age 62 if I have less than 20 years of FERS service?
4) Is there any offset with Social Security? Read the rest of this entry »