Q. I am retiring on Sept. 30. I am 55 years old with 34 1/4 years of employment, including my military time. I paid back my military contribution. In a retirement class we were told that when we turn 62 that the feds will reduce our CSRS retirement by the amount of Social Security we are entitled to. I thought that only applied if you paid into Social Security as a government employee. I earned my 40 points outside of federal employment. I was also wondering about the military payback. I got hit for my Desert Storm service of nine months. I paid Social Security while serving in Desert Storm. Why did I have to pay the military contribution for that? I’m thinking that the payback has nothing to do with Social Security but with time in military service, to have that service count toward your retirement, period.
A. You were either misinformed or you misunderstood what was said. Because you made a deposit to get credit for your period of active-duty military service, your CSRS annuity won’t be affected. If you hadn’t done that, those years of service would be deducted when you reached age 62 and your CSRS annuity recalculated downward. On the other hand, your Social Security benefit 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 didn’t pay Social Security taxes (such as CSRS) and has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.