CSRS and the windfall elimination provision


Q: I worked for the Department of Defense for 37 years and have more than 40 quarters. If I were to collect Social Security today I would get a little less than $350. If I wait until I am 65 years old, I could collect more than $700 in Social Security. I was married for 14 years. My former husband receives Social Security disability as well as VA 100 percent disability. I am remarried and my new husband receives twice as much as my former husband in Social Security. Which would be the best route to take here? If I collect the $350 now, would I make out better by collecting my current husband’s Social Security because the government would not take as much from me? If I collected the $350 now, would I still have to pay back because of the windfall?

A: We aren’t qualified to answer questions that deal with divorce and benefit entitlements. What I can tell you is that based on your work history, you will be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP will reduce your Social Security benefit because you are receiving an annuity from CSRS, a retirement system, where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes and have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. Because of your CSRS annuity, you would also be subject to the government pension offset, which reduces the Social Security spousal benefit by $2 for every $3 received in your annuity.


About Author

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

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