By Reg Jones
Q. I am 59 years old. I receive a civil service retirement from my former spouse, approximately $24,000 per year. I work in the private sector and have paid into Social Security for 40 years.
I will be accepting a position in the federal government and plan to work for five years and pay the maximum I can into CSRS. I hope that, after five years, I am eligible for a small retirement from the government in addition to Social Security and my former husband’s retirement. Is this correct, or will there be caps to the amount that I can obtain from the government and Social Security?
Q. I am retiring under CSRS in February. With my three years, 11 months and 10 days in the Navy, plus sick leave, I will have 42 years and eight months CSRS and be 62 years and five months old. On advice of our HR office, I never paid my military deposit back since I was planning on retiring federal and only had 31 Social Security credits. I have looked in the Office of Personnel Management site and the Fedweek CSRS retirement manual and neither says it will not reduce my annuity if I don’t pay the deposit. Can you help?
Q. I have been employed with the Postal Service since 1985 with three years of prior service in the D.C. government under CSRS. After 30 years of service, I received a notification informing me that the Postal Service was supposed to change my retirement plan to FERS in 1987 but did not. Now I have been forced to elect either CSRS Offset or FERS. I selected CSRS Offset, which added one year to my retirement date. If I retire at age 56, will my annuity still be the same, or do I have to work until 62 to receive full pay and Social Security benefits?
Q. I’m retiring this year with 33 years of service under CSRS. I’ve earned enough credits (however do not have 30 continuous years of Social Security) to be eligible for Social Security. Will the WEP affect what I would get from Social Security, and reduce my retirement annuity? Or will I be able to collect my full retirement annuity but just have a reduced Social Security check?
Q. I am a 20-year federal employee with 16 years of active-duty service. I made a huge error in not making the deposit within the first two interest-free years of federal service. I doubt I can afford the now very large sum which will be due (just received my Estimated Earnings from Defense Finance and Accounting Services) and will need to enact payroll deduction.
1. Will interest continue to accrue during the period I am making payments?
2. What impact will there be (if any) on my ability to draw Social Security if I make a military deposit?
January 2nd, 2014 | annuity reduction Benefits Creditable service: CSRS Creditable service: FERS CSRS annuity computation FERS annuity computation PAY RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY spouse benefits SURVIVOR BENEFITS
Q. I am a retired CSRS employee with survivor benefits for my wife. She is FERS and will retire this year. If I die, will my survivor benefits affect/reduce her FERS and/or Social Security benefits?
Q. I will be 62 on Sept. 3 and will still be CSRS for another year or so. Can I collect 100 percent of my Social Security amount for age 62 at that time?
Q. I have been employed with the Postal Service for 26 years. I am 64 years old and am eligible for retirement. I would like to work for another year. I have some health issues. If I should die while I am still working, would I lose all that I have paid in to my retirement, or would my wife get my retirement benefits? If so, how much? Or would she only get my life insurance benefit?
Q. Please explain why my retirement check is issued one month late. In other words, my Jan. 1, 2014, payment is actually for December 2013. I do not believe it is like that with Social Security. Their January 2014 check is actually for the month of January. It is like the government hangs on to the money for an extra 30 days each month, as I understand it.
Q. I am a CSRS employee who started with the Postal Service in 1981. However, I worked in a supermarket before the USPS and worked for the union for the past six years. For both of those other jobs, I have paid and still am paying Social Security. I have heard the expression of “having enough quarters” for Social Security retirement. What does that mean, and how many quarters are needed?
Q. Federal worker was separated from service Nov. 30 pursuant to Office of Personnel Management disability determination. Worker is completely disabled. The worker’s pay for 2013 exceeds the Social Security limit. Agency fails to pay accrued leave promptly. Leave is paid in 2014. Would Social Security be deducted?
Q. I am in CSRS Offset and I will be eligible to retire with an annuity and possible early buyout at age 50. I received my benefit estimate report, which has a monthly Social Security offset amount. Is this amount what I will get in addition to my annuity when I am 62? I also see that if an employee decides to delay receiving Social Security benefits until after he or she turns 62, the CSRS benefit would be reduced even though the employee might not be receiving the Social Security benefit? Is that correct?
Q. My uncle passed away, leaving my aunt who just turned 98 in need of full-time care. I have been paying her bills and her caregiver. I mistakenly thought the income he received was Social Security, but found out that it was his federal pension. He received this payment of approximately $1,400 per month direct deposited into their account until May following his death. They took back the March-May payments, then stopped any further payments.
It has recently been brought to my attention that my aunt should have retained a portion or all of his pension as his widow. Her only income is $575 per month Social Security. I am wondering if she was not accurately listed as his spouse or if we missed some paperwork following his death.
My aunt lives in Oregon, and I am in Tennessee. Her caregiver is awesome, but she does not always send us everything.
We finally completed the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance paperwork and are waiting for a small death benefit but need to determine if she was supposed to be getting his pension. She is nearing the end of her resources, and we are trying to be sure we have done all we can.
Q. I am a CSRS retiree (I retired in 1998) and am single.
1. If I get married and want my spouse to receive federal benefits after my death, by what percentage — or by what dollar amount — would my current pension decrease because of this change in marital status?
2. Would my spouse be covered by my choice immediately, or is there a waiting period?
3. My fiancee is getting Social Security disability but will turn 65 next year. Does that monthly amount change from what she receives now on disability to what her monthly Social Security would be because she has reached 65?
4. If I marry and should survive my spouse, do I receive all or part of whatever her monthly payment would be (per paragraph 3)?
December 16th, 2013 | Benefits Creditable service: CSRS Creditable service: FERS CSRS annuity computation FERS annuity computation RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY substantial earnings Windfall elimination provision
Q. In the Dec. 2 article titled “Don’t let these 5 mistakes disrupt your plans,” in mistake number 4, you wrote “If you are covered by CSRS (or FERS and will have a CSRS component in your annuity) and will also be eligible for a Social Security benefit, you’ll be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone receiving an annuity — in whole or part — from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes and has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.”
A co-worker said they just attended their first retirement seminar, and they may be Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act eligible (they were in CSRS and placed into FERS without their consent around 1987). They are going to contact our personnel office and have it confirmed that they should be in CSRS. From the article item #4, I am wondering if the following is correct:
If you have more than 30 years of Social Security earnings and get your FERS status changed to CSRS, which would cease you being taxed for Social Security, once you retire and were 62 years old, would you be eligible for a Social Security benefit and not be subjected to the windfall elimination provision?
Q. I am a disabled veteran. I was employed by the Postal Service for almost 10 years. I was injured in 2011, the result of a previous ankle sprain. I was approved for workers’ compensation and have received benefits for the past two years.
Recently, I received a letter stating that my employer USPS will separate me via disability separation. If they do, should I apply for increased veteran benefits or Social Security disability? What laws should protect me from being separated?
December 11th, 2013 | annuity reduction Benefits Creditable service: CSRS Creditable service: FERS CSRS annuity computation DOWNSIZING FERS annuity computation PAY RETIREMENT Retirement date service computation date SOCIAL SECURITY Special retirement supplement spouse benefits SURVIVOR BENEFITS VERA VSIP Windfall elimination provision
Q. I am considering requesting a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay and being off the rolls by March 31. My service computation date is Feb. 28, 1982 (CSRS and FERS). On Feb. 28, 2014, I will have 32 years of combined service (CSRS and FERS). On April 11, 2014, I will be 58 years old.
I transferred to FERS on March 30, 1994. Therefore, I will have 20 years under FERS on March 30, 2014.
I previously withdrew all of my retirement funds from CSRS, and never paid them back. I understand that although I did not repay my refund, the period of service will count toward length of service, but no annuity. Is this correct?
I had received a FERS benefit report that reflects CSRS service credit as 11 years, seven months and six days, but because some of that time was nonpaid deposit or redeposit, I will only receive eight years, 11 months and 27 days of CSRS service credit. My unpaid CSRS deposit is $627, and my CSRS redeposit is $30,607. Therefore, I am unable to pay all of this back prior to my retirement — and will have to pay a penalty, I am sure.
Since all of my annuity will be coming from FERS, will I be affected by the windfall elimination provision?
I have no survivor benefit, spouse deceased, which should make me eligible for Social Security widow’s benefit at age 60. How will this affect my special retirement supplement? Will I have to contact the Office of Personnel Management and report this change, or will they be notified by Social Security that I have filed?
Is the special retirement supplement equal to the Social Security benefits I will draw at age 62, or is it less?
Q. I am a 58-year-old retired Army officer (1977-1997) with 20 years of active service and have collected monthly retirement pay since 1997. I then worked 16 years in the civilian sector, paying into Social security. I have recently been selected as a foreign service officer and expect to start federal service again this year. I will face mandatory retirement at age 65 (2020). What is the best option for me as far as retirement planning goes? Should I convert my military pension? Do I forfeit my retirement pay while I work for State Department?
Q. 1. I retired from Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Administration with nearly 33 years of service. Upon federal law enforcement mandatory retirement at age 57, I elected to have my wife receive 55 percent benefit if I precede her in death. Thus, my annuity is reduced. If my wife precedes me in death, is there an adjustment upwards of my annuity? How do I go about getting this changed? We have been married since 1979.
2. I started collecting Social Security benefits at age 63. Based on 42 quarters and the amount I paid into Social Security, my benefit is only about $150 per month. When I die is my wife eligible to receive partial Social Security benefits based on my Social Security account? She does not have enough quarters to qualify for her own Social Security payment.
December 9th, 2013 | annuity reduction Benefits Creditable service: CSRS CSRS annuity computation Government pension offset PAY SOCIAL SECURITY spouse benefits substantial earnings taxes Windfall elimination provision
Q. Will I be able to draw Social Security if my husband is retired military and retired CSRS? I have work for more than 30 years paying Social Security tax and have been told I can’t draw. Will my husband be able to draw because he has paid Social Security tax as a self-employed contractor?