By Reg Jones
Q: I retired under the Civil Service Retirement System Offset pension plan in 2001 (early buyout retirement at age 51 with 23 years of service). My husband passed away in August 2006. I started receiving a survivor benefit based on his Social Security earnings when I turned 60. My question is, should my CSRS Offset pension have been reduced by the amount of the Social Security that I am receiving based on his earnings, or does that reduction not take effect until I turn 62 and then is based on my Social Security benefit? The amount I am receiving as a survivor is more then I will receive at age 62 under my benefit.
A: Your CSRS annuity won’t be offset until age 62, when you become eligible for a Social Security benefit based on your CSRS Offset employment. According to the Social Security Administration, you were able to receive a survivor Social Security benefit based on your husband’s work record and avoid the government pension offset because you: Are a federal (including Civil Service Offset), state or local government employee whose government pension is based on a job where you were paying Social Security taxes and you filed an application for benefits before April 1, 2004; or your last day of employment (that your pension is based on) is before July 1, 2004; or you paid Social Security taxes on your earnings during the last five years of government service.
Under certain conditions, fewer than five years may be required for people whose last day of employment falls after June 30, 2004, and before March 2, 2009.