Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

CSRS Offset

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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?

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Windfall elimination provision

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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?

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Windfall elimination provision

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Q. I have worked for the Postal Service for 20 years under FERS and planned on retiring next year. My husband retired several years ago from the Postal Service under CSRS. Will I be able to collect my full Social Security benefits, or will I be subject to the WEP? I have heard conflicting statements.

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Switching to FERS and the WEP

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 Q. I retired as a FERS employee. I worked for the federal government for 32 years. The last 12 years, I switched to FERS and paid Social Security. I was under the impression that I would receive my full Social Security once I applied for it, without the windfall elimination provision. Is this correct?

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WEP vs. GPO

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Q. Recently, a colleague and I were reading your Dec. 2 article “Don’t let these 5 mistakes disrupt your plans.”

Your statement on number 5 (not accounting for the government pension offset) leaves us wondering.

We are under CSRS and retiring this month. Her husband is still working and will be eligible to draw Social Security benefits when his time comes to do so.

Your statement indicates that when he draws Social Security, her CSRS annuity will be reduced. REALLY?  I know that if he draws Social Security and dies, she eligible to receive his Social Security, but her pension with CSRS will be reduced due an offset/windfall.

This is his retirement, when he is eligible. Even though he is drawing Social Security while he is alive, this will be an offset/windfall to HER CSRS pension?

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CSRS Offset

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Q. I’m under CSRS Offset, but I have 36 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. Will either pension be reduced?

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Medicare Part B

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Q. I need information as to how Medicare Part B premiums  are paid when the following applies, per CMS.HHS:

“If you are not set up on your spouse’s Social Security number with a B or D following the Medicare number.”

My wife’s Medicare Part B card has a B following the Medicare number. When my wife retires from the Postal Service with an immediate CSRS annuity, her Social Security benefit, which is now used to pay the Part B premiums, will be greatly reduced due to the windfall elimination provision. If she cannot have the premiums deducted from her Social Security benefit, is there some other way/process for her pay the Part B premiums.

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Windfall elimination provision

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Q. I am a CSRS employee with 34 years in at age 64. I plan to retire in April. I earned my 40 credits prior to being a federal employee. I do not plan to sign up for Social Security until I turn 66. As I understand the windfall elimination provision, I will go into retirement receiving whatever CSRS annuity I arrange and when I sign up for Social Security, I will maintain the CSRS annuity but receive a reduced amount of Social Security. Correct?

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Windfall elimination provision

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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?

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Social Security

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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?

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Social Security ‘quarters’

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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?

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Windfall elimination provision

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Q. I retired under CSRS after 26 years of service. I worked for six years before my federal service and have been working and paying Social Security for the past nine years. If I put in 20 years under Social Security, will I still be affected by the windfall elimination provision?

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CSRS Offset

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Q. Is every CSRS employee considered an offset? I retired in 2012, started in 1977, and now, at 62, applied for my Social Security. I was informed that the CSRS annuity reduced my very small Social Security check to $100. Now, will the Office of Personnel Management reduce my annuity by that 100?

A. Pure CSRS retirees like you are subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes and has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. The WEP will have no effect on your CSRS annuity.

CSRS Offset and WEP

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Q. I was in CSRS for nine years (1965-1974) before having a 15-year break in service. When I returned to work for the government (1989), I was placed in CSRS Offset until my retirement in January 2013.

I am receiving Social Security benefits, as well as my reduced CSRS Offset government pension. During one of my calls to Social Security regarding my benefits, I was told that I have paid into Social Security for 29 years and that, if I could get one more years earnings paid into Social Security, that the amount of the CSRS Offset reduction would not apply. My understanding was that I would then be able to collect my full government pension, as well as my Social Security annuity.

In a follow-up call to Social Security, I was told that this reference applied only to my Social Security annuity.

I am trying to determine if it would be beneficial for me to return to work to reach the 30-year requirement.  Can you confirm which statement is correct?

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FERCCA and WEP

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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?

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Windfall elimination provision

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Q. I retired under CSRS at age 57, 1½ years ago, with 32 years service. Before I worked for the federal government, I had other jobs that I paid Social Security payments. I am now told that since I retired under CSRS, I can’t collect my Social Security when I reach the correct age. Why can’t I collect that money since it was paid in before I worked for the feds? Also, If I can’t collect Social Security, where does all that money go that I paid in. Shouldn’t I get that back?

Also, if I get a part-time job away from the government, would I have to pay Social Security taxes? If so, why?

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VERA/VSIP, annuity, WEP and SRS

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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?

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WEP and GPO

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Q. I worked for 35 years with the Postal Service. I am 64 years old. My 40 quarters are fully paid up from work prior to the USPS job and being a military reservist and active duty. I understand the reduction that the windfall elimination provision and government pension offset takes. After my federal retirement, however, I have continued working. I have not applied for Social Security yet. I still work, landing a job at a military base as a New York state employee. So I have now been making “substantial” payments into Social Security ($100 per pay period). I am in my 12th year with New York state. I have been receiving Social Security statements these past 12 years, and every year, my “estimated” Social Security payment has increased, from $368 to the current $1,000 per month. Is this Social Security “estimated payout” including the WEP and GPO legislative thievery? I have paid thousands into Social Security but am very concerned that I will never get back what I have paid into it.

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CSRS Offset

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Q. I worked in CSRS from 1972 to 1988 and returned in May 1990 as a CSRS Offset. I was a reservist on active duty from March 1991 to March 1992 during Desert Storm. I also have been drawing Social Security since May 2006. My husband passed away in September 2008, and I am receiving the survivor benefit. I want to retire this year, and I have no idea what I will receive. I think my total Social Security is about 27 or 28 years for paying.

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Social Security

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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?

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