By Reg Jones
Q. The requirements for Social Security disability are much higher than for FERS disability retirement, so what happens to FERS if you are approved by OPM but denied by the Social Security Administration? Can you still receive your FERS disability retirement? Must you continue to reapply with SSA regularly? I have 15 years in FERS and am only 42.
Q. I plan to begin collecting Social Security at age 66 in CSRS. I have met my 40 quarters and 30 substantial salary requirements. Additionally, I took a two-year break to work in the public sector. When I retire at age 69 with 40 years’ service and begin collecting my CSRS annuity, will I be able to collect Social Security?
Q. I retired under full CSRS (none offset) in January 2010 with 35 years’ federal service as a GS 14/10. I am 59 and don’t have the 40 credits required to receive Social Security benefits when I turn 62.
Is it worth it to take a part-time job just to get my 40 credits in, or will there be a reduction to my federal retirement that will hurt more than it will help? I haven’t earned very much in the private sector — just a few years before I became a CSRS employee in 1977, including the time I served in the Army, which I bought back to add to my CSRS time (included in the 35 years), but still paid a very small amount to Social Security while serving in the Army.
I have an opportunity to start a small business (~$10,000 per year).
Would it be better to have the business in my wife’s name to add to her Social Security rather than affect my CSRS? Or will I expect to see a small Social Security check when I hit age 62 if I get my 40 quarters in with Social Security?
Q. I am a rehired CSRS annuitant paying both CSRS and the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities (Social Security). What is the percentage withheld for each? And what does this do for me? Will my annuity be reduced when I turn 62? I can’t collect Social Security, can I?
Q. I am a 66-year-old CSRS employee still working. Can I draw Social Security on my wife’s Social Security? She is a 70-year-old retired FERS employee.
Q. If I retire at my minimum retirement age of 56 with 32 years of service, I would qualify for the special retirement supplement from age 56 to 62. When I turn 62 and the supplement ends, could I then decide to defer receiving Social Security until age 67 or 70, or am I committed to receiving the level of benefits I would get at age 62?
Q. I am trying to understand the FERS disability retirement. My wife has 34 years of federal service but has not reached her MRA. I understand the high-3 and 60 percent the first year and then the 40 percent rule after 12 months and how it affects Social Security. If she applies now for FERS disability retirement and is approved, can she then go to Social Security and apply for her full disability entitlement? Also, if she receives her Social Security 100 percent disability entitlement within 12 months, how will her FERS retirement formulate? Will she still get 40 percent of her high-3 pay and 100 percent from Social Security?
Q. I’m 52½ years old. I came into the civil service as an air reserve technician in April 2007. I bought back 10 years of active-duty service, which brings me to 16 years creditable service. In 2008, I had a botched surgery and have also developed a foot problem, both no fault of my own. My case is being reviewed by a medical evaluation board. If I lose my dual status, under these circumstances, can I remain in my job as civil servant, or will I be offered a civil service position to remain in the civil service until I retire in 2020? Title 10 USC 10218 says I would. USAFR Instruction 136-114 says I would.
However, I have heard that I would only be considered for a position should one exist at my current assigned base and under my current wage grade (WG-11). If none exists, I would be medically retired and qualify only for an annuity, based on my creditable service of 16 years. I think it’s 25 percent of my annual salary at 16 years. I do not think I would qualify to draw my Social Security. However, I haven’t been able to find any directives stating these rules within the laws or regulations governing air reserve technicians. Can you advise?
Q. In 2015, I will reach my minimum retirement age (56) with 26+ years of creditable FERS service.
If a VERA is offered any time that I’m 56 to 60 (when I will have reached full age and time requirements) would I get the special retirement supplement until age 62?
If yes, then from 56-62, I would get: FERS immediate annuity (no penalty under a VERA) Thrift Savings Plan annuity (no penalty under a VERA) special retirement supplement (under a VERA). Also during these years there is really no cost-of-living adjustment for any of the above, correct?
Also, under a VERA at age 55, for example, I could get my two immediate annuities, but the special retirement supplement would not start until age 56, correct?
Q. My husband died at age 51 in 2000. He worked 28 years for USPS, plus four years in the military, for 32 years (he paid no Social Security taxes for the 28 years in USPS). I have received widow’s death benefit annuity payments since his death, in addition to purchasing the USPS medical insurance plan. I worked full time in the medical profession until his death and have worked part time since 2000. I would like to take my Social Security at age 62 (in 3 years). Am I still eligible to receive the USPS death benefit annuity (and insurance option) once I start collecting my Social Security?
Q. I receive a FERS annuity. If I receive Social Security disability, I understand I lose 60 percent of that pay until I’m 62. Will FERS go back however many months and make me pay back the difference for those months of retroactive pay from Social Security? In other words, if I collect six months of retroactive pay from Social Security do I owe FERS 60 percent of my annuity that I received for those six months?
Q. I started drawing Social Security at age 69 — about $2,000 in benefits. At age 77/78/79, I have worked and made $60,000 per year. I have paid FICA and Medicare tax. Will my monthly Social Security benefit go up?
Q. I am in CSRS offset, and I am eligible to retire now.
I expect to be working past age 66, when I can collect full Social Security benefits. If I collect the benefits and continue to work, how will my retirement calculation change when I retire? Most, but not all, of the Social Security benefits were earned while I was under CSRS offset.
Also, how would my retirement be affected if I collect the Social Security before age 66?
Q. I retired from CSRS with 30 years (U.S. Bureau of Mines closure). I started getting my government retirement the day after retirement because of forced retirement. I continued work in the private sector and, at age 66, started getting Social Security in October 2011. I had 26 years paid into Social Security and was hit with the windfall elimination provision. I was never told I could pay extra years into Social Security for some of the years that I was under CSRS until someone at the Social Security office in Pueblo, Colo., told me that. I do not know if that is true and if it is too late at this time. I am now 67 and still working, paying into Social Security even though I will not receive any extra benefits from Social Security that I can find.
First, I think my Social Security retirement with WEP might have been calculated incorrectly and would like to know where I can find rules for doing this. Second, I plan on working for years to come and would like to know if the additional years paying into Social Security will change the WEP reduction? And last, what is the status of WEP being stopped/removed/changed?
Q. I will turn 65 this month but won’t retire until mid-2014. I have had Blue Cross/Blue Shield standard option (code 104) since the 1980s.
I have been (and still am) a federal employee for over 31 years. I have CSRS for retirement. I started federal service in 1981 before FERS and kept CSRS. Thus, I will not receive Social Security for my retirement.
Otherwise, I do not have 40 quarters for Social Security so I would not otherwise qualify based on that to receive Medicare Part A for free.
However, I pay a $62.99 “Medicare tax” each pay period per my earnings and leave statement, for a total of $1637.74 Medicare tax yearly. My federal employer pays the same amount as a benefit I receive. I have paid this “Medicare tax” since it was first required in the 1980s.
So, does paying this “Medicare tax” over the years as a federal employee with CSRS qualify me to enroll in Medicare Part A for free? Or will I have to pay $441 monthly extra for Medicare Part A?
Further, what would be the additional cost to enroll in Medicare Part B? Is it higher if someone earns over $108,000, or the same price regardless of income? If I have to pay $441 for Medicare Part A, can I buy only Medicare Part B?
Q. I have a government pension and will be retiring in the next couple of years. I understand that my pension will be subject to federal and state taxes. I also have 20-21 years full time under Social Security (an additional nine years part time under social Security but under the substantial earnings amount). My Social Security will only be approximately $6,000 per year. Would the Social Security be subject to federal and state taxes?
Q. I retired from the FAA in 2003 with 21 years of service, and I receive 50 percent of my base pay. I also am qualified for Social Security. I bought back my military service. I know my Social Security benefits will be lowered as I receive a pension from OPM. I am planning on taking my Social Security benefits when I turn 62. Will I still receive my 50 percent pension from OPM?
Q. If a Bureau of Prisons retiree takes a job other than a federal job, will he lose any amount of his retirement while he works?
Q. I was informed by personnel that to get credit for the 7½ years of active duty, I would be required to buy back my military leave, which I did. I went to a retirement class and they told me that because I was hired in 1981, I got the time without buying it. How can I get a refund of the money I paid in error? It was over $12,500.
Q. I’ve retired on disability and am 33 years old. I receive a measly $400 per month. I haven’t received my retirement plaque, let alone more pay. I receive $1,300 in Social Security. When I was working, I made over $53,000 per year. Where can I find a retirement lawyer for the federal government and why haven’t they sent me my plaque? I’ve been retired since 2011. I’ve been in appeal process with the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs for my on-the-job injury.