Q: Your recent article on the Personal Advisor in the Nov. 2 issue of Federal Times described retirement benefits. You note that in 1983, “Those already covered by [Civil Service Retirement System] had the option of electing full coverage under both CSRS and Social Security …” However, your description doesn’t seem to recognize the Windfall Elimination Provision, such that those who elected to be covered by both get the severe reduction on their Social Security from the WEP. Is my understanding correct, or is something on WEP changed? I understand that I will get the WEP reduction on my Social Security, retiring after 30 years of service (using the military buyback) and over 40 quarters of Social Security.
A: That column was about the retirement options of members of Congress, not employees of the executive branch of government like you. Members were offered choices in 1983, one of which was to be covered by full Social Security and full CSRS. If they chose that option, they would have paid 6.2 percent to Social Security and 8 percent to CSRS. As a result, the windfall elimination provision would not have applied. Those who chose the interim system (which later became CSRS Offset) paid 6.2 percent to Social Security and 1.3 percent to CSRS. In their case, the WEP did apply.
— Reg Jones