Q. On March 16th you answered a question with information concerning OPM checking only once to see if you were eligible for Social Security. Would you please expound upon that statement and tell us how that would affect a CSRS employee? I am just a few quarters shy of having 40 quarters and wondering if it means I would be better off waiting until I am 62 before completing the 40 since I will retire from CSRS before I am 62.
A. I think you are referring to what’s popularly referred to as “Catch-62.” If a CSRS retiree served on active duty in the military, hadn’t made a deposit for that period of service, and was eligible for a Social Security benefit either at age 62 or at retirement, if it was after reaching age 62, those years of service would be deducted and his annuity recomputed downward. CSRS Offset employees who are covered by CSRS and Social Security have their CSRS annuity offset by the amount of Social Security benefit earned under CSRS Offset at age 62 or when they first become eligible for a Social Security benefit. FERS employees have a simpler life. They don’t get any credit for their active-duty military service unless they make a deposit. And since their retirement package includes a defined benefit (FERS) and Social Security, they get what they have earned from each part.