By Reg Jones
September 18th, 2014 | Postal Service
Q. I am 60 and retired three years ago under CSRS with the post office. Will my annuity be reduced if I do not claim Social Security benefits at 62? I want to wait until I am 65 to claim Social Security. I worked nine years under Social Security when I was younger.
A. Because you retired under CSRS – not CSRS Offset – your CSRS annuity will never be reduced. If you are eligible for a Social Security benefit, the fact that you retired from a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes means that your Social Security benefit will be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. Note: If you only have nine years of coverage under Social Security, you won’t be eligible for a Social Security benefit. You have to have 10 years – 40 credits – to receive that benefit.
September 16th, 2014 | law enforcement
Q. I worked for 10 years and five months under CSRS prior to moving to a law-enforcement covered position. How will the first 10 years be calculated with the 21 years as a LEO?
A. All time beyond 20 years of covered service will be computed using the standard formula, not the enhanced one for LEOs.
September 12th, 2014 | SOCIAL SECURITY
Q. I am 64 and I am unmarried with a CSRS retirement with no survivor benefits designated. My 62-year-old future wife will begin receiving her Social Security benefits in September. I am not qualified to receive any Social Security benefits although I have paid in for 36 quarters. Will her Social Security benefits be affected by my income after we marry?
A. No, they won’t.
August 21st, 2014 | service computation date
Q. I’m under FERS, and my service computation date is Nov. 26, 1983. A co-worker in my organization has a SCD of Nov. 7, 1983, and is under CSRS. What is the SCD cutoff date for FERS vs. CSRS?
A. As a rule, employees who were first hired before Dec. 31, 1983, are covered by CSRS. To review that requirement and other details which might affect your situation, go to www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/csrsfers-handbook/c010.pdf. If you meet the qualifications to be covered by CSRS, you’ll need to go to your personnel office and ask them to help you process your claim under the Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act.
August 20th, 2014 | High-3
Q. Between 2009 and 2012, I served two deployments in Afghanistan as a GS employee (CSRS). Can my salary during those deployments be used in the computation of my high-3?
A. No. Only actual basic pay earned while a federal civilian employee can be used in that computation.
July 31st, 2014 | annuity reduction
Q. I am CSRS and worked 20 years between 1983 and 2004. I am considering taking a job in a Texas school district. Will there be any offset between my CSRS annuity and my Texas state annuity?
A. No, there won’t.
July 30th, 2014 | part-time
Q. I am a CSRS employee with a period of “post-April 6, 1986” part-time service of about 10 years. During that time, I occasionally worked hours above my scheduled tour of duty. How do I get credit for that time in my retirement annuity?
A. The extra hours you worked are already a matter of record and you’ll get credit for them in your annuity computation.
July 17th, 2014 | Disability retirement
Q. I work for the Air Force, and I have 35 years of actual service under CSRS and I am 62. I have confirmed from OPM that I can apply for disability retirement within a year after retiring and start receiving annuity payments. I have had FEHB for only one year so the regular retirement will not allow me to keep FEHB (five-year rule). Can I apply for disability retirement before my regular retirement, or do I have to wait until after I retire to apply? Read the rest of this entry »
June 27th, 2014 | Creditable service: CSRS
Q. In 2009, I took the postal clerk buyout and retired. I am under CSRS with 32 years with 2 years of military Service included. When military buyback was offered some 25 years ago, I passed. In 2009, the same buyback was almost $10,000 so I passed on that. I am working and will have 37 credits of eligibility toward Social Security at the end of this year. If I continue and become Social Security eligible, how much of my monthly pension will I lose?
A. If you become eligible for a Social Security benefit, you won’t lose a penny of your CSRS annuity. However, your Social Security benefit will be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.
June 26th, 2014 | CSRS annuity computation
Q. I’m a CSRS employee with more than 41 years of service and plan to continue my federal employment well beyond 41 years. I understand that CSRS employees contribute 7 percent of their salary into the retirement fund and that the government matches that 7 percent contribution into the fund. I’m told that, after completing 41 years, 11 months of service, I will reach the maximum annuity benefit of 80 percent. At that point, the 7 percent retirement contributions will continue to be taken from my pay and placed into an interest bearing account to be refunded when I retire. When that happens, does the government continue to pay its matching 7 percent contribution into the interest bearing account as well? Read the rest of this entry »
June 20th, 2014 | Creditable service: CSRS
Q. I received nine years creditable service for Annual Leave accrual for non-federal work experience when first hired for federal service. A friend of mine recently told me that the creditable service will also be factored into my CSRS retirement date. For example, if I plan on retiring after 30 years of service, I would only need to work an additional 21 years for the government. I cannot seem to find anything on the internet to support his claim. Can you tell me if my friend is correct?
A: Your friend is mistaken. You wouldn’t receive any credit for that time in determining your eligibility to retire.
July 2nd, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I work for the federal government and have 31 years in CSRS. I was born in 1959. I am eligible to retire in August 2014 and will be 55. I also worked in the private sector before becoming a federal employee. I am four credits short of receiving Social Security. If I earn four more credits after I retire, how much will I receive and how much will my CSRS retirement be decreased?
If I could receive Social Security, would it be better to keep working under CSRS/ Social Security? Which would be greater? Should I just work longer under Social Security or stay extra years under CSRS?
July 2nd, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I just retired from the federal government Dec. 28 under CSRS at age 66. My service comp date is March 3, 1975. Now I am told I have only 31 years in federal service because they are not counting my six years on active duty with the Army. They say it’s because I’m eligible for a Social Security benefit, and I’m receiving one. I thought they went by the service computation date. If I am required to buy back my military time, of six years, to get a larger monthly annuity, can I still do that? How much will I have to pay to buy back the six years of military? Does it have to be paid all at once? The Social Security Administration representative said my Social Security benefit will be reduced because I’m a CSRS retiree.
June 26th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. In 2011, I left my civil service job for 175 days to deploy to Afghanistan as an active-duty officer. While deployed, I used a day or two of annual or military leave every pay period to pay for my health care benefits. FERS payments also were made on the days I was on paid leave.
When I got back from my deployment, I was told I had to buy back the time, and I put in paperwork with DFAS to do so. However, I just read in my agency’s furlough FAQ that: The amount of a CSRS or FERS annuity paid by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is based primarily on the amount of creditable service an employee performs and the employee’s high-3 average salary.
Both CSRS and FERS allow service credit for up to 6 months of nonpay status in any calendar year. If a furlough period does not cause an employee to be in a nonpay status for more than 6 months in a calendar year, the furlough period will be included as creditable service in determining the employee’s total creditable service used in the annuity computation. If the total amount of time an employee spends in a nonpay status in a calendar year exceeds 6 months, the amount of nonpay status in excess of 6 months in the calendar year will not be creditable for retirement purposes.
Based upon this, it looks like as long as I was not in a nonpay status for six months that calendar year, I do not have to buy back that time for it to count toward my retirement. Am I correct in my interpretation of this? If so, is there a way to verify how many creditable years I have?
June 26th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I retired as a CSRS employee Nov. 30, 2006, and am a rehired annuitant. I have been working in my current position with the Air Force for the last 22 months, receiving both my annuity and the full salary of my new position. I want to find another way to add to my retirement before this overseas job ends.
What additional retirement program options do I have? I was told by Air Force personnel management that I do not qualify for supplementing/contributing to my CSRS annuity. TSP also is closed for me to invest in since I started to withdraw from my account.
June 26th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. My father retired from the federal government in 1976. For whatever reason, he does not have Medicare Part A. My mother recently suffered a stroke, and because my dad did not have Medicare Part A, rehab at a nursing facility will not be covered. Apparently federal workers did not pay into the Social Security system back then and therefore have had to pay separately for Part A. It took hours of calls to SSA, OPM and Medicare to unravel this bureaucratic mess! BCBS (federal) is his secondary insurance and would not pay because Medicare A is primary.
(BCBS was no help — we tried to get a special benefit created for her, which they could have done, but it was denied.) My dad will be 93 soon, so I do not know how many of these retirees are still alive and were in similar situations and did not know nursing rehab would not be covered.
I wonder if at some time Medicare Part A did not cover nursing rehab and since BCBS is primary for inpatient hospital care, he was advised not to sign on for Part A, which also covers inpatient hospital care.
It is a sad situation for the last of his generation of federal retirees.
June 25th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I am planning to retire at age 60 from the Postal Service after 34 years.
I also have five years of military service, which I never paid back. I have 31 quarters in Social Security. If I decide to work after I’m 63 to get the 40 quarters, will it affect the amount of my CSRS retirement?
June 19th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I worked and completed my 40 quarters for Social Security before I started working for the federal government (CSRS). Will I have to take a reduction too?
Secondly, I am retired now from CSRS, and we have Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance.
Thirdly, I start drawing my military retirement starting in July, and we are eligible for Tricare. My second question: Should we switch to Tricare Standard and suspend our BCBS? It would be about a $450-a-month raise (the $450 is what we pay per month for the BCBS).
June 19th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I have been a federal employee with the Department of Veterans Affairs covered by CSRS since October 1977 and have four years of military service (I paid the military deposit in full). I am 75 and have started receiving Social Security. I will be retiring in about one year and eight months, having reached 41 years and 10 months years of service, including military service, hoping to have earned or reached the 80 percent retirement annuity. I am at the top level of my GS-12 grade step 10. What will my civil service and Social Security benefits be? Or, how I can estimate the figure?
June 18th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I am a retired wildland firefighter (CSRS) and retired after 20 years in 2002. For part of my 20-year career, I had government health insurance. I voluntarily gave up insurance when I went from a 13-13 to a 6-20.
Since I retired from the USFS, I have started a teaching career and was on that organization’s health insurance. I would like to get back on the government health insurance; can I?