Q: I plan to retire at age 63. I was in the Civil Service Retirement System for 11 years and did not take out my CSRS retirement contribution. I took a 14-year break. I re-entered the federal government under the Federal Employees Retirement System offset and was told that I should be in FERS. I agreed to be in FERS, as I wanted to be able to retire with a retirement system in place. I transferred to the FERS system and now have been in it for 13 years. I plan to retire in the next few years. Will I be part of the windfall provision? I was told that my Social Security monies will not be part of the windfall provision since I made the decision to transfer to FERS. What is the truth?
A: Because you will be receiving an annuity — in whole or part — from a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, you will be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces — but does eliminate — the Social Security benefit of anyone who has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. On the other hand, because you have been covered by FERS for at least five years, you won’t be subject to the government pension offset.