By Reg Jones
Q. I am FERS-covered and will retire this year with 20 years at age 62. My annual FERS annuity is about $25,000. After retirement, I plan to work in a private company in a foreign country for an estimated annual $90,000 salary. I will roll over my Thrift Savings Plan savings to a traditional IRA. I will not withdraw my Social Security until I reach my full retirement age at 66 when I will no longer have any wages.
1. Am I allowed to draw FERS annuity while living in a foreign country?
2. How will my salary from the private company affect my FERS annuity? That is, will my FERS annuity be reduced due to an earnings income limit?
Q. I would like to know if I can get back the money I returned (bought back) for my military time. I served three years (May 1974-May 1977), started federal civil service in November 1977 and retired in November 2009 with a total of 35 years — three military and 32 civil service. I bought back my military time because no one knew for sure at that time how it worked. I will not be eligible for Social Security at 62, or after, so it is my understanding that it will not affect my annuity. Is this correct? They will not deduct 2 percent for each year of military service (6 percent) at age 62. The way I see it, I paid that money back (did not need to), so I should be able to get it.
Q. I served on active duty in the Air Force from February 1983 to January 1992. I joined California state government in August 1993 and recently retired after 20 years and paid into Social Security the whole time. I am now considering working as a civilian for the federal government.
Because military time, if purchased back, qualifies as CSRS time, does this mean that if I become a federal civilian employee now, that I will be under CSRS instead of FERS? Or because I have never been a federal civilian employee in the past, I must go under FERS and am not eligible for CSRS, but could buy my military time?
Q. I’m a letter carrier with 32 years of federal service under FERS. I have 2½ years to go before I meet my minimum retirement age. I’m considering disability retirement because my health has been keeping me from work. What will I lose or gain (pros and cons) between regular retirement and disability retirement. Which is stronger financially?
Q. I am CSRS Offset. I’ve been paying into Social Security for many years and I plan on retiring before I’m 62 years old. Once I retire, will I stop paying into Social Security? Also, will I be eligible for the special retirement supplement before I’m eligible to collect when I’m 62 years old?
Q. I have worked 39 continuous years as a CSRS employee and am in the process of getting divorced from my wife of 37 years. We will be dividing the CSRS pension. My wife has sufficient Social Security quarters in the private sector that she will receive a Social Security retirement benefit based on her own record. Her lawyer and the Social Security office in Alabama say that she will incur a government pension offset because she is receiving a pension from which she didn’t pay Social Security. I think they are actually calling this a Social Security Offset. I’ve explained that this shouldn’t apply as she didn’t earn this pension and the GPO only applies to me. I contacted the Office of Personnel Management and have read your blogs on this question and both say her Social Security retirement wouldn’t be affected. What is the correct answer, and is there any direction or publications I can reference to steer us to the right answer?
January 22nd, 2014 | annuity reduction Benefits Creditable service: FERS Early retirement FEHBP HEALTH INSURANCE Minimum retirement age PAY RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY Special retirement supplement spouse benefits
Q. My husband is 66 years old and retired last year with full Social Security benefits. My daughter is receiving Social Security benefits until she graduates from high school at age 18. I was told that had my salary not exceeded the maximum amount allowed, I would also receive some benefits until my daughter turns 18.
I am 54 years old, a federal worker under FERS with 23 years of service. My office is going through a major reorganization. I understand that if I am offered an early retirement, I will have immediate annuities without the 5 percent reduction each year under 62), will have Federal Employees Health Benefits and have the special retirement supplement when I am at my minimum retirement age.
1. I assume that since I won’t have a job, I will be able to receive Social Security benefits until my daughter turns 18 and graduates from high school in June 2016. I will be at my MRA in January 2015. At my MRA, will I be able to continue receiving my Social Security benefits and the special retirement supplement simultaneously?
2. When I turn 62 and the special retirement supplement stops, should I apply for Social Security benefits from my husband’s retirement until I am at my full retirement age (66 and 10 months)? This way, I would have my own full Social Security retirement benefits without reduction. Am I correct?
Q. My wife is retired under CSRS and does not have the 40 credits to qualify for Social Security on her own. Can she qualify for Social Security benefits as my spouse? If she does, will the Social Security simply offset her CSRS annuity?
Q. At age 60, I will be eligible for FERS and Air Guard retirement. I bought back two years and four months of active Air Force time. Will I receive my full Air Guard retirement, which includes those active-duty points? Or, since I bought those points back, will they be deducted from my Air Guard retirement? Also, at 62, when I am eligible for Social Security, will I draw full FERS, full Air Guard and full Social Security?
Q. I am a 58-year-old Postal Service employee with 30 years of service. If I collect the special retirement supplement until age 62, does that reduce the amount of Social Security I receive at 62?
Q. I just retired from federal service with 23 years plus four years military bought back. I am starting a job with the Teachers Retirement System of Texas, in which I do not pay into Social Security. How will this affect my Social Security benefits later, when I start to take them?
Let me ask two examples:
1. I am 51 now. If I choose to work for TRS for 12 years, retire and take a partial retirement from TRS (vested after five years) along with my FERS retirement, and then want to start taking Social Security payments at, say, age 63, what will be the effect at that time on my Social Security payments?
2. If I work for 12 years with TRS but leave service (not retire, just leave), will this have any effect on my Social Security payments when I start to take them? Can I take the funds from my TRS account and roll them over into another retirement account without paying federal tax or paying a penalty?
Q. My father was a retired Postal Service letter carrier. He recently passed away at age 64. My mom, who is 63, will be receiving his pension. He did not pay into or collect Social Security. Does this affect the Social Security benefit that she has been collecting on her own from her own contributions?
Q. I started working for the Postal Service in 1983. I also worked before that for the Navy and other places and have received a Social Security Administration statement saying I will be eligible for Social Security benefits at age 66. Is there a percentage that is deducted from either my Postal Service retirement or Social Security benefits? What is CSRS Offset? Am I in that, or would I know if I were?
Q. If a federal employee is eligible for retirement under both FERS and Social Security disability, can that employee, once retired, still work and earn up to $1,000 or $1,100 per month (whatever the maximum is), which is what an SSDI recipient may earn without jeopardizing his or her SSDI benefits?
Q. Will I be able to receive survivor benefits based on my deceased husband’s Social Security benefit? I am a retired government employee.
Q. I am CSRS. I earned my 40 quarters before becoming a fed. I plan to retire May 2 at almost 65 years old. I am not going to apply for Social Security until 66. I will have almost 37 years of combined federal service. When I apply for Medicare Part A at 65, there will be no cost, correct? When I go on Social Security, there will be no cost for Medicare Part A, correct?
Q. I am under CSRS Offset. I retired in 2009 at age 57 with 30 years of service, went back to work as a contractor and am still working. I have paid into Social Security for approximately 40 years. Will there be an offset in my retirement when I turn 62?
Q. A friend of mine left his federal job due to a knee injury. He says he hurt his knee on the job (I believe this is documented). He has been unemployed for about three years and collects Social Security benefits due to the knee injury. He did not know to put in for federal disability retirement. At this point, is there anything he can do to receive something from the government?
Q. I am a FERS employee. If I retire at my minimum retirement age (56) and receive the special retirement supplement until age 62, am I allowed to defer collecting Social Security until my full retirement age (66 and 10 months)?
Q. I plan to retire when I’m 70 years old with 10 years of civil service. I also draw military retirement for 25 years of service. Can I also draw full Social Security when I retire, which would have me receiving three government pensions?