Social Security and retirement


Q: I have been retired (CSRS) for more than 15 years. Because I had enough quarters from moonlighting as a teacher, I also collect Social Security with the windfall reduction. Since retirement I have worked as an educator and may soon reach 30 years of substantial contributions to Social Security. What impact, if any, will this have on my CSRS retirement payments? What impact, if any, will it have on the Social Security payments made to me? How will this impact survivor benefits?

A: The fact that you’ve continued to earn Social Security credits after retirement won’t have any effect on your CSRS annuity. Likewise, the windfall elimination reduction that took place when you retired is permanent. The fact that you later reach 30 years of substantial earnings won’t affect that. What will happen if you continue working is that your Social Security benefit will be increased based on your additional earnings. The Social Security Administration becomes aware of those earnings when you file you federal income tax return. I’m not sure what effect you think there would be on survivor benefits. They will continue to parallel you annuity and your Social Security benefit and, as a rule, increase over time.


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


  1. Please clarify for me. My wife worked for a school district for about 12 years, was paid a lump sum of $7,800 and then began a new career about 17 years ago where social security deductions were made. When she turned 66 she was supposed to receive half of my social security payment which is about $1,100. But instead they imposed the windfall penalty and she is receiving about $760 per month. You state that the windfall is permanent, therefore, she will be penalized more than $300 per month for the rest of her life? So, theoretically if she lives to be let’s say 80 years of age, that would be 80 -66= 14 years x 12 months per year= 168 months x $300/mo = $50,400. So she would be penalized $50,400 for a lump sum payment of $7,800. Is that correct?

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