Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Social Security credits

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Q. I am a CSRS employee who will retire at the end of 2014. I have 36 quarters of work covered under Social Security  before I started federal service and I am trying to decide whether or not to try to get four more quarters of coverage after I retire. I understand the WEP provision. I was told at a retirement seminar that Social Security quarters do not count if earned before the age of 22 or after the age of 62. Is this true? Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

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 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 »

CSRS Offset and windfall elimination provision

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Q. I am a federal employee who has 21 years of federal service and am under the CSRS Offset retirement plan. I have paid in over 30 years of social security. What would be the percentage of my offset? I have been told that it would be minimal after 30 years of Social Security pay in. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Security benefits for survivor of CSRS retiree

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Q. I am a federal employee who will get only CSRS benefits after retirement. I will make sure there are survivor benefits for my wife if I pass away first. My wife has Social Security. Will I get any survivor benefits from Social Security if she passes away before I do? Maybe I will get some benefits after any windfall deduction is made from survivor benefits. Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS Offset, Social Security and WEP

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Q. I am 69 years old and will be 70 in December of this year. I was rehired by the government in January 2013 after a 31 year break in service. I had almost 12 years of prior service and I withdrew my CSRS retirement fund when I left the government in 1981. I am now planning to retire at the end of March of 2016 when my High-3 will be reestablished at my current GS12-10 salary. Since I have over 30 (consecutive) years of substantial earnings under Social Security, will the windfall elimination provision come into play when I retire?

Also, I did not repay the amount I withdrew in 1981, and additionally, I am currently collecting my Social Security benefit and have been since 2010. How will these circumstances effect my CSRS retirement and/or Social Security benefit when I finally retire at the date I mentioned? Read the rest of this entry »

Social Security benefits and federal pension

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Q. I am retired from the FBI.   I have 22 years covered under CSRS and 11 under FERS.  Because my FERS supplement ends in August when I turn 62, I plan to apply for Social Security,  who has advised my monthly benefit payment will be 1120.00.  My FERS supplement is approx 500.00 per month.  My question is:  When I begin receiving social security benefits in August, will I receive the entire 1120.00 or will it be reduced? Read the rest of this entry »

Foreign pension and WEP

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Q. I have been a FERS employee since 1985 and this year will have 28 years of Social Security substantial earnings.

I was born in the U.K., a U.K. citizen, and worked there in the 1970s before marrying and emigrating to the U.S. with my U.S. Navy husband. I am now eligible to receive a U.K. state pension, 10 years of which are based on employment.

I am now told that my U.K. pension is subject to the windfall elimination provision, as those 10 years are not covered by Social Security. This seems grossly unfair as, at the time I earned my U.K. salary, I was not a U.S. citizen, resident or employee, and had no intentions of becoming one.

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11 questions on military buyback

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Q. 1. How are the days of active-duty service calculated?

2. Is that a one-to-one credit added to years of service?

3. Can you buy it back after you retire and adjust the annuity accordingly?

4. Can you buy back portions of it?

5. Can you pay in installments?

6. What percentage of military pay per year would you get in retirement? For CSRS, it is roughly 2 percent based on high-3; would it be calculated on actual salary back then or adjusted for inflation?

7. Any chance for a retroactive payment once established?

8. Will I lose any benefits if I do this?

9. Can I do this if I was not in the military long enough to earn a pension?

10. How does Social Security fit into this picture?

11. Can I get all three (FERS/CSRS, Social Security, military/Defense Department) separately? What is the penalty for collecting multiple pensions if done separately?

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Windfall elimination provision

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Q. If I continue to work at a Social Security-covered job past the age of 62, will the windfall elimination provision deduction be reduced?

I retired from the Postal Service as a CSRS employee in 2004. Prior to my Postal Service time, I had 12 years of substantial earnings in the private sector. Since my retirement in 2004, I have worked for 10 years in a job that pays Social Security deductions. So, as of now, at the age of 62, I have 22 years of substantial earnings.

I have contacted the Social Security Administration and been told to use the WEP detailed calculator to determine what my benefit would be if I made a Social Security claim. However, that did not answer my question. I realize that the longer I work, the greater the Social Security benefit will be. But, as I work longer, will the WEP deduction be reduced, too? Or is it permanently set at age 62?

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CSRS Offset

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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?

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Social Security

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Q. My husband is a retired federal employee receiving a CSRS pension. I have been paying Social Security taxes based on my own employment earnings since before we were married.

1. As the wife of a federal employee who is receiving a federal pension, will I receive my full Social Security benefit when I reach retirement age?

2. If I outlive my husband, how much of his federal pension would I receive, and would I also continue to receive my full Social Security?

3. Will he receive Social Security benefits based on employment earnings in nonfederal jobs he held prior to and after his federal employment?

4. If, as a retired federal employee, he will never be eligible for Social Security benefits, should he be paying Social Security taxes — which he has in the past and is doing in nonfederal jobs?

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CSRS Offset at 62 vs. 65 or 66

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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?

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Annuity reduction

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Q. I served three years on active duty from 1966 to 1969. I was hired as a federal employee in 1970. I retired in 2009 at age 61 and not eligible at that time for any Social Security benefits. I did not buy back my military service because of the provision under section 22A5.1-3G of the CSRS/FERS Handbook, where it states that “employees who retired prior to age 62; and are not eligible for Social Security at age 62; continue to receive credit for the post-1956 military service even if they become entitled to Social Security at a later date and the military deposit was not made.”

Because of some part-time work I have been doing over the past four years, I am now eligible for Social Security benefits. If I apply for such benefits, will it affect my CSRS annuity? I understand that the windfall elimination provision will apply to me.

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WEP and taxes

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Q. I am having half of my Social Security benefit reduced because I have a CSRS retirement and I earned enough Social Security credits separately for a Social Security benefit because of Army Reserve service.
Will the amount of my Social Security benefit be reduced because of the windfall elimination provision? Will it can count on my IRS Form 1040 as taxes paid or a deduction?

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CSRS Offset

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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.

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FERS, state job and Social Security

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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?

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