Q: I am a civil service employee with 17 years of service, 10 during CSRS years and seven during CSRS Offset years. I have 30 years of other Social Security wages. My High-3 years are in the Offset years. I draw full Social Security while working. I began this at 66. I am trying to make a retirement decision but I cannot get a clear understanding of how the offset impacts me. I have gotten retirement projections but they do not include any adjustment for Social Security. It appears too good to be true that I will not experience a reduction in either my retirement pay or Social Security. Can you advise me what adjustments I will need to make if any?
A: It is too good to be true. No matter how many years of substantial earnings you have under Social Security, your CSRS annuity will be offset by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while covered by CSRS Offset. On the upside, that reduction will be replaced by an equal amount of your Social Security benefit. Any other Social Security benefit you are entitled to based on nongovernment employment will be in addition to that. The windfall elimination provision will only apply if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. To see what constitutes substantial earning in each year, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10045.html.