By Reg Jones
Q. I was a federal worker covered by CSRS from 1975 to 1989. On leaving, I left my deposits there in the hope I would return. I did not, but I joined the reserves and worked the private sector.
In 2008, I was discharged from the military. I was 53 when discharged. I am considered unemployable by the VA and also receive Social Security Disability benefits. There was a big hole in my Social Security deposit sheet the years I worked for the federal government and therefore receive a reduced SS disability benefit.
Since I am considered disabled currently, am I eligible for an offset or do I have to wait till I am 62? Read the rest of this entry »
Q. I am a retired federal employee under CSRS Offset. My male partner and I are getting married soon. My pension is set up so he has an insured interest. I took a reduction in my monthly annuity, so if he survives me, he will get a portion of my pension. I believe it is 35 percent. As married spouses, how will this change? What percentage would he get? Would my annuity be reduced some more for him to receive the spousal as opposed to insured interest annuity?
Q. I am a recently retired federal employee (Postal Service) who was covered under CSRS Offset. I have been receiving both CSRS benefits and Social Security. How long may I expect the CSRS benefits to be paid to me?
Q. I am a CSRS Offset employee with five years of “pure” CSRS and 22 years of CSRS Offset and three additional years of Social Security substantial earnings (so 25 years total of substantial Social Security earnings).
I am getting different answers as to how much my CSRS annuity will be adjusted at age 62 (i.e., the offset) and how much my Social Security benefit will be affected by the windfall elimination provision. My question is whether the combined benefit at age 62 of CSRS pension plus Social Security benefit ever ends up being less than the CSRS Offset benefit was before the offset took effect?
Q. I am a retired federal employee covered by CSRS Offset with 31+ years of federal service. I understand that, at age 62, my CSRS federal pension will be reduced and Social Security will pay the reduced amount to receive approximately the same in monthly annuity. Would my Social Security amount increase if I did not claim Social Security until I reached age 65 or my full Social Security retirement age? Also, I believe I have 30 years of substantial earnings with Social Security. Does this have an impact on when and how much I will receive from Social Security after age 62?
Q. I am 55 years old and plan on retiring when I turn 56 (minimum retirement age) with 30 years of service. I worked for 4½ years under CSRS and then had a break in service for almost three years. When I went back to work, I was put in the CSRS Offset and worked for another five years. I then had another break in service for two years before going back to work. At this point, I switched to FERS. Am I entitled to the special retirement supplement when I retire?
Q. I retired Oct. 2, 2007, on CSRS Offset at age 56 with 31 years in. From 1977 to 1991, no Social Security insurance was taken out of my pay. I left the Postal Service in 1991. When I came back in 1994, I was placed in CSRS Offset. After retiring in 2007, I went to work for Home Depot at age 61. I went on SSI disability. At age 62 in October, SSI sent me a letter stating my payment is reduced because of offset. Is this correct? Even though I’m on SSI disability?
Q. Getting ready to retire next year. Using the Office of Personnel Management retirement calculator. When choosing what retirement system, it keeps telling me CSRS offset for my start date Oct. 24, 1984. However, I have been in FERS all along.
Q. I’m a Defense Department employee who was initially hired part time under CSRS in 1979, but elected to switch to FERS. At that time, I’m not sure if I was refunded the money I put into CSRS. I’m showing eight years of frozen service (with no mention of CSRS Offset), Thrift Savings Plan eligibility date of July 11, 1993, TSP service computation date of Jan. 1, 1984, and TSP status date of July 11, 1993.
The first entry I’m seeing in my FERS account is dated Feb. 1, 1988. Am I eligible for a CSRS retirement annuity for the eight years of frozen service, or am I only entitled to a FERS annuity for all of my years of service?
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 left government service in October 1984 and drew out my $11,500 retirement contribution. I returned to government service in October 1987 but have not repaid the refund.
1. If my annuity is reduced permanently due to lack of refund repayment and I die, will my wife’s survivorship election be affected by the annuity reduction continuing until her death?
2. The variable interest rate applied to an early CSRS refund is decided by whom, decided when, and posted when and where? I would like to be able to find it as soon as it is decided and posted in case the interest begins to jump up.
Q. I am CSRS Offset. It is my understanding that when I apply for Social Security, a portion of my CSRS Offset retirement will be SS. My question involves my husband’s collection of his SS. When he passes, will I be eligible for his SS? I know his is more and we are making retirement plans for him.
Q. How does time spent on workers’ compensation for full and partial disability count toward CSRS retirement? I was injured after 13 years of civil service, was fully disabled two years, partially disabled (25 percent) for 10 years, and returned to work from 2003 to the present. To calculate CSRS Offset retirement, do the two years on full disability count as two years creditable service? Do the 10 years on 25 percent partial disability count as 10 years or 2½ years creditable service?
Q. I retired in March 2012. I got a Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment paid to me after I retired. I started my Social Security at that time. I have recently gotten several confusing letters from the Social Security Administration saying I owe them different sums of money for overpayment due to having too much income. They are including my buyout gross payment as regular income.
Is there some official source you can give me to pass onto them that my $25,000 should not be considered in my earnings putting me over the limit for receiving benefits following my retirement. I am submitting a Form 131, but it just refers to severance, and I can’t find an absolute statement that says VSIP payments fall in that category. I have heard it informally as severance due to retirement, but I would like something official.
January 20th, 2014 | Creditable service: CSRS Creditable service: FERS CSRS annuity computation CSRS Offset FERS annuity computation High-3 LEAVE Leave without pay PAY RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY Special category employee retirement
Whoopee! You just got a 1 percent pay raise, the first increase in several years. It may not sound like much, but in the long run it will pay off. That’s because once you meet the age and service requirement to retire, it’s your length of service and high-3 that will determine what your annuity will be.
Your high-3 is an average of your highest rates of basic pay over any three consecutive years of creditable civilian service, with each pay rate weighted by the length of time it was received. That three-year period starts and ends on the dates that produce the highest average pay. Therefore, the counting doesn’t have to start on Jan. 1 or any particular date.
For most of you, your highest three years of basic pay will be the ones that immediately precede the day on which you retire. All you need to be do to find the starting date for your high-3 calculation is to subtract three years from the date you plan to retire plus a day.
If you are a CSRS, CSRS Offset or FERS employee with a CSRS component in your annuity, periods of service that are creditable in determining your length of service but not in your annuity computation can still be used in determining your high-3. That includes, for example, periods of non-deduction service on or after Oct. 1, 1982, for which you didn’t make a deposit or CSRS service that ended on or after Oct. 1, 1990, for which you took a refund of your retirement contributions and failed to make a redeposit.
The rules are different if you are covered by FERS. If a period of service isn’t creditable for determining your length of service, it can’t be used in computing your high-3. On the other hand, service that is creditable includes time under FERS when retirement deductions were taken and not refunded; non-deduction service (such as temporary or intermittent) performed before Jan. 1, 1989, but only if a deposit is made for that time; service under CSRS Offset, if the CSRS deductions weren’t refunded after you transferred to FERS; and periods of military service for which a deposit has been made.
Your high-3 won’t be affected if you had to take leave without pay, unless it exceeded six months in a calendar year. Any LWOP beyond that will cause your three-year period to be extended. So, for example, if you had taken nine months of LWOP in a calendar year, your high-3 period would be three years and three months long, to account for those three months of excess LWOP. The six-month limitation on LWOP doesn’t apply if you were called to active military duty.
The FERS formula for calculating your annuity is simple: It’s 1 percent of your high-3 average salary for each year of service, or 1.1 percent if you retire at age 62 or later with at least 20 years of service.
The CSRS formula is more involved: It’s 1.5 percent of your high-3 for your first five years of service, plus 1.75 percent of your high-3 for your second five years, plus 2 percent of your high-3 for all remaining years. If you are a FERS employee who will have a CSRS component in your annuity, you figure each period of service separately and add the results. The formulas are different for special category employees, such as law enforcement officers, firefighters and air traffic controllers.)
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. 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. I worked 10 years under Social Security (40 quarters) prior to entering federal service under CSRS in 1979.
I retired last year at age 65 and intend to apply this year for Social Security when I turn 66.
Will the Social Security retirement payment not be reduced by the CSRS Offset because the Social Security contributions were made before the federal service employment with no overlap?
Q. I retired at 61 and was unaware that the CSRS offset was supposed to be automatic at 62. I was definitely eligible for Social Security at 62, but no offset was taken by the Office of Personnel Management. Now as I am looking at enrolling in Social Security retirement at my current age of 65+, advice in many forums state offset starts at 62 no matter what. Any thoughts on why it wasn’t taken? OPM error?
Q. I’m under CSRS Offset, but I have 36 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. Will either pension be reduced?