Substantial earnings


Q: I switched from CSRS to FERS right at the end of 1987. I had six years under FERS. I would like to retire at the end of 2014 when I turn 62. I have two years of substantial earnings in the early ’80s. My question is whether years of substantial earnings that I earned before I was 21 count toward the 30 years of substantial earnings that I need to avoid any reduction?

A: Years of substantial earnings under Social Security count no matter when, where or at what age they are earned.


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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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