Q. I am currently working in the U.S. Postal Service under CSRS for 32 years. I will be 62 in January and have paid into Social Security for more than 10 years (forty quarters). Social Security sends me yearly letters stating how much I can draw at retirement. Will I be able to draw at 62 if I’m still working at the post office. Am I eligible to draw any Social Security at all if my CSRS is over $14,000?
A. You would be able to apply for Social Security benefits while you are still working but it wouldn’t be a good idea to do so. That’s because you’d be subject to the Social Security earnings test. As a result, your Social Security benefit would be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earned above the limit. This year the limit is $14,160. Once you retire and apply for a Social Security benefit, it will be affected by the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces — but doesn’t eliminate — the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system where he or she didn’t pay Social Security taxes. CSRS is such a system. To get an estimate of what the reduction would be, go to www.fedbens.us and use the handy software found there.