CSRS, reserve retirement and Social Security


Q: I served in the Air Force from 1971 to 1977. In 1977, I joined the Air National Guard. I retired from the ANG in 1991 with 20 years of service, including the six active-duty years. In 1977, I also got a job with the federal government as a civilian employee under the Civil Service Retirement System. In 1986, I payed back my six years of active-duty military time to receive credit for them under CSRS.

I am planning to retire in 2011 from the federal government with 40 years of creditable service in CSRS, including the six years bought back. Also in 2011, I will start receiving my reserve retirement because I will be 60 years old. Can I receive my CSRS and reserve retirement at the same time without any consequences? Also, I have enough years of employment to receive Social Security benefits starting at age 62. What consequences will occur when I start receiving Social Security payments?

A: You will be able to receive your CSRS annuity and reserve retired pay with no reduction in either. However, your Social Security benefit may be affected by the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system in which he didn’t pay Social Security taxes, such as CSRS, and has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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