By Reg Jones
May 8th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I received a refund of my CSRS contributions when I separated from federal service in 1993. Four years later, I returned to federal service. I am CSRS offset. My question concerns the Windfall Elimination Provision.
Because I withdrew my contributions from CSRS, and federal service where Social Security taxes are withheld is not affected by the WEP, will withdrawing CSRS contributions change my Social Security benefit when I retire?
Q. I am under CSRS offset. I am going to retire in three years at age 62. I know my government pension will be reduced by $213 when I turn 62. According to my Social Security statement, I should receive $888 if I collect at age 62. It states: “At your current earnings rate, if you continue working until 66, you will receive $1,366 a month.” What happens if I don’t collect Social Security at age 62 and wait until full retirement age? Will I receive $1,366 a month minus the $213 offset reduction, minus the windfall elimination provision? (I will have only 20 years under Social Security.) Or will the $1,366 be recalculated since I won’t be paying Social Security from age 62 to age 66? Also, I am divorced and not remarried. My ex-spouse is retired military and under FERS. He has remarried, but I am still entitled to his Survivor Benefit Plan under his military retirement plan. If something happens to him and I start receiving SBP, will my Social Security be affected?
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 am a FERCCA case. I was inadvertently placed in FERS when hired by my agency after eight years in the legislative branch.
I have elected CSRS offset coverage. I have 28 years, eight months of creditable service and am eligible to retire now.
My annual salary and high-3 are not likely to change in the next few years. Are CSRS offset annuities helped by length of service? Would it benefit me to work two or three more years?
Q. I started my employment as a CC military spouse in Germany in 1981 (no military service myself), then resigned (as we were directed) just before we returned to the U.S. in late 1983. I got picked up into a fed position in September 1984, which set the dates for leave and retirement as 1982. I had been told I was FERS at that time, and I have been contributing and planning toward that, along with attending the FERS retirement classes. However, when I received an estimate for retirement last year, I was told that I was CSRS Offset, with four years and 10 months of creditable service before being picked up in the U.S. I emailed with HR to make sure of that, and the HR person said that I was CSRS offset.
I now have 31 years of federal employment, and thought I had figured out my retirement numbers, until I received the CSRS offset news.
Since I haven’t firmly fixed a date to retire, I hadn’t really looked into it, but now I am wondering what that means exactly with regard to my retirement numbers.
Q. I am a carrier for the post office. I was hired as a career employee in 1998. I have been under FERS from the start.
However, I also worked as a career employee for the post office between November 1978 and March 1984 under CSRS. I recently filled out Form 3108 to try and buy back those 5½ years toward my retirement. After such a long break in service, will I still remain under FERS, or will I be classified as a CSRS offset?
Q. I have been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance for a total disability since 2008. From 1981 to 1989, I was a CSRS offset employee in the USPS. When I tried to apply for my CSRS pension, I was informed by letter that I had to wait until I reached age 62, which is unlikely, or withdraw the small amount I contributed as a lump sum. Is it not possible to apply for and receive my CSRS pension when completely disabled? I have read CSRS Pamphlet No. 7 and searched the website Q&A, and I am very confused.
Q. I am retiring under CSRS offset. In 2007, I worked as a temporary employee for four months. During that time I paid FICA, but not the additional 0.8 percent toward my retirement. OPM states that I need to pay the full 7 percent to get full credit toward my retirement.
Given that the CSRS offset contribution is 7 percent, divided by 6.2 percent toward FICA and 0.8 percent toward CSRS, wouldn’t paying an additional 7 percent be a double payment toward FICA? Shouldn’t I just be liable for the 0.8 percent deposit? If I must pay a full 7 percent, will this affect my SS offset amount?
Q. I’m trying to understand how my retirement income will be affected by the government pension offset and windfall elimination provision.
I’m a CSRS Offset employee (55 years old) contemplating retirement in the next year with more than 32 years’ service. I also receive a monthly spousal annuity from my deceased wife’s CSRS service. I understand that when I turn 62, my own CSRS pension will be reduced by whatever Social Security amount I’m eligible for (should be more than 30 years of Social Security earnings), but I just read something indicating that my spousal annuity also might be reduced at age 62 due to the windfall elimination provision. Can you shed light on how this will unfold?
March 30th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I plan to retire this year and start my own business. I am CSRS Offset and 55 years old. How will any income I make from my business affect my pension and taxes?
March 28th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I am a CSRS Offset employee in a law enforcement position. I plan to retire Sept. 1 at the age of 50 with eligibility service credit of 23 years, nine months, and 12 days. I have over 650 hours of sick leave. My computation service credit is 30 years, 11 months, and nine days without including the 650 hours of sick leave. Does including the 650 hours of sick leave to my computation service credit provide me with any additional annuity? Also, will my annuity be based on my eligibility service credit or my computation service credit?
Q. I will avoid the windfall elimination provision if I have 30 years of substantive earnings. Is that still the case if 15 of those earning years for Social Security occurred under CSRS offset? Also, I am 66. Can I receive Social Security, even though I am still working under CSRS? If I can collect Social Security, in a few years, once I retire, how will that affect the Social Security I would collect? Would it be reduced or my CSRS annuity be reduced?
Q. I returned to federal service at age 63, after a 30-year break in service, as a CSRS offset employee. I am trying to understand the rule for applying the offset to my CSRS benefit. I know there are two calculations to get the offset amount and the lesser of the two is the one applied. I would have qualified for Social Security at age 62 as a result of my employment record outside government service and before returning to federal service. The first calculation seems to indicate 62 as the age to apply the offset calculation; therefore, I would have no offset applied to my CSRS benefit. Am I interpreting this correctly, or does another rule apply to me?
March 22nd, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I am a 58-year-old CSRS Offset civilian employee with 20 years of federal service. What is the earliest date that I can retire?
A. Because you have at least 20 years of service, you could retire on an immediate, unreduced annuity at age 60.
March 21st, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I’m looking to retire sometime this year. I turn 66 on April 2, have 13 years at the Veterans Affairs Department, from which I withdrew funds. I worked in the private sector until 1995, when I started working for the Postal Service. I am under CSRS Offset, and I have essentially bought back my four years in the military. So the total years at the Postal Service would be 18 years + 4 years military = 22 years. Can you explain to me how the offset will apply to me? Will I be able to receive Social Security?
March 20th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I expect to retire with income from a state employee retirement, CSRS offset and Social Security paid while working other than the CSRS offset Social Security.
To what extent will the windfall elimination provision apply? Since there are two Social Security eligibilities, does the WEP apply to both? Will the CSRS offset Social Security portion be reduced by the WEP as well as the Social Security earned when working for nongovernment employers?
A. At age 62, your annuity will be reduced automatically by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a CSRS offset employee. If you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security, you’ll also be subject to the windfall elimination provision. If you are subject to the WEP, it could affect the amount of Social Security benefit attributable to your CSRS offset service.
March 19th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. Last year it was determined that I fell under FERCCA. I decided on CSRS offset as my retirement coverage. I am just shy of 30 years of service.
For 1987-1991, I was told I would be receiving a refund of my FERS contributions with no interest. It just does not seem correct that I have to pay for years of nondeduction service with interest to reduce or not have an actuarial reduction in my retirement annuity, yet money deducted from me sits for 25 years and is refunded without interest.
I would think at a minimum I should receive some sort of retribution. I was told it was an administrative error and I am not entitled to interest. Only if I were separating from civil service would I receive those contributions with interest.
A. Sorry, but what you were told is correct.
March 18th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. As of January, I had 36 years of creditable federal service for retirement. This is based on a federal retirement benefits estimate I received from a company contracted by my agency to provide this service. I was on leave without pay while in a master’s degree program from June 23, 1984, to June 7, 1986. The company providing the benefits estimate counted all of this time as creditable for retirement. Is this correct, or would I only be allowed credit for a maximum of six months during each of the three calendar years covered by the leave without pay?
Secondly, I am in the CSRS Offset retirement program. Can I pay into my retirement program for the LWOP period, similar to what I was allowed to do for my military time? If so, where do I start? I am not in CSRS Offset because of the LWOP period but for a period between Aug. 23, 1988, and June 30, 1994, during which I taught two years at a University and completed a Ph.D. in my current field.
A. Periods of LWOP that are less than six months in a calendar year are considered to be creditable service and no deposit is required to get credit for it. LWOP that exceeds six months in a calendar year isn’t creditable service for any purpose, and you can’t make a deposit to get credit for it.
March 2nd, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I worked for an independent federal agency from 1977 to 1989, which had its own retirement system that was neither CSRS nor FERS. I had a break in service for one year then returned to work for the federal government (Transportation Department), where I was erroneously placed in FERS by human resources. In 2006, following a FERCCA ruling that took over 2½ years, I chose to be placed in CSRS Offset rather than FERS. I paid Social Security as a federal employee (plus through part-time jobs dating back to 1970) until I retired in 2010 with 32 years of service. I was told I would receive a reduction to my pension and/or Social Security at age 62 due to the offset. I have also read that there will be no reduction because I have more than 30 quarters of Social Security. Should I file for Social Security at age 62 since I will receive a possible reduction, or will I receive no reduction in Social Security benefits?
A. Because you are a CSRS Offset retiree, at age 62, your annuity will automatically be reduced by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a CSRS Offset employee. Further, you may be subject to the windfall elimination provision, which 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 (not 30 quarters) of substantial earnings under Social Security. To see how that might apply to you, go to http://ssa.gov/pubs/10045.html.
February 27th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I was in CSRS with Tennessee Valley Authority for 9½ years. I had a 15-year break in service and returned to work with the USPS under CSRS offset. When I retire at age 62, I will have 15 years with the USPS. Will the 9½ years I spent with TVA be added to my service time from the USPS for retirement calculation purposes?