Q: After reading all the horror stories about the windfall elimination provision and Social Security demanding payback of erroneous payments, I’m writing to verify my Civil Service Retirement System Offset and WEP reductions. I have 22 years of CSRS service, from 1973 to 1995, put in 13-plus years of nonfederal work, and then was re-employed with the federal government as a CSRS Offset employee in 2008. I plan to retire at 62 with 27 years, 8 months of federal service, with about five years of that under CSRS offset.
My personnel office says that I am not subject to the government pension offset, but it can’t seem to explain whether I’m subject to WEP. They listed a Social Security deduction amount of $40 on my retirement estimate, but I’m still waiting to understand if this is a WEP deduction. I was under the impression that the WEP would cut my Social Security benefit in half. If the formula for CSRS Offset employees is time of CSRS Offset service multiplied by Social Security benefit amount divided by 40, then the reduction will not be so severe.
A: Anyone who is receiving an annuity, in whole or part, from a retirement system in which he didn’t pay Social Security taxes is subject to the windfall elimination provision if he has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. While application of the WEP doesn’t normally reduce the Social Security portion of the benefit due to those receiving a CSRS Offset annuity, in rare instances it might. For more information about the WEP and how it is applied, go to this Social Security Administration fact sheet.