Q. I am 64 years of age and in CSRS. I also have  four years of military time, which is being calculated into my retirement time with the federal government.  I requested my retirement package that I am completing today and have scheduled an appointment to have my retirement interview.  My greatest concerns I have  are:  Will I have to repay my four years of military time back to CSRS or will they reduce my benefits if I don’t?  And, if they reduce my benefits, for how long is the reduction to take place?  I am reading all of the information in my retirement package and I am sure I can call and ask them questions but they have given me 30 days before I can interview and I really need to know the answer to these questions so I can make a financial decision ASAP.  I paid into the SSA system for about 10 year or so and the SSA show that I am eligible for a very small Social Security check. From what I have been reading, the windfall takes effect with my benefits and I might not get a SSA check at all.

Since I am age 64 and retiring with 39 years of civil service this year, will I lose my SSA and will they reduce my annuity for the four years of military time?. If I can pay the four years back before I retire, how can I find out how much this will cost me?  My retirement package states this “ Employees with a career CSRS covered appointment eff. prior to 10/1/82 may choose to receive credit for post-1956 military services periods without a post 56’ deposit. OPM will reduce the annuity beginning at age 62 by 2% for each year of military service not funded if annuitant is eligible for a SSA benefit at retirement or at age 62.”

I do not quite understand this. I am just retiring now at age 64. Does, that mean they have already calculated this 2 percent and reduced my benefits? I cannot really follow the explanations in the package. Can you explained this in layman’s term? I hope I have given enough information to get a reply.

A. If you don’t make a deposit to the retirement system for your period of active-duty service, you will get credit for that time in determining your years of service; however, because you will be eligible for a Social Security benefit when you retire, your annuity will automatically be reduced by approximately 2 percent for every year (1/6 percent per month). To find out how much you would have to deposit, you’ll need to complete Form RI 20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it to your military finance center along with a copy of your DD Form 214, Report of Transfer or Discharge. When you get that form back, take it and a copy of Standard Form 2803, Application to Make Deposit or Redeposit, and another copy of your DD 214 to your payroll office. They’ll figure out how much you owe, including accrued interest. If you decide to make a deposit, they’ll help you to set up a payment schedule if you want to stretch out the payments instead of paying the amount in a lump sum. Both forms can be downloaded at, click on Find Form(s).

When you apply for a Social Security benefit, you will be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces – but doesn’t eliminate – the Social Security benefit of anyone who is receiving an annuity from a retirement system like CSRS where they didn’t pay Social Security taxes and has fewer that 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.

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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

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