Q: I have 14 years 10 months of federal service under CSRS that ended in May 1993. I am returning to federal service later this year. Can I be reinstated under CSRS?
Also, my “high three” likely will be based on my earnings from the new employment as it is at a higher level than when I left in 1993. How do I calculate my retirement?
A: When you return to work for the government, you’ll be placed in CSRS Offset (CSRS and Social Security) with the option of transferring to FERS. Your annuity will be calculated under the rules for whichever retirement system you are. However, if you elect to be covered by FERS, you will have a CSRS component in your annuity, which will be calculated under CSRS rules. Note: I’m assuming that you left your contributions in the retirement system when you left government. If you didn’t, you’ll have to redeposit that money, plus accumulated interest, to get credit for it.
Excellent response. It answered all my CSRS questions in one shot!
Thanks for letting me know.
Something to consider when choosing between CSRS-Offset and FERS is you get half the annuity under FERS. Because you have a CSRS component, you will be affected by the WEP (unless you have 30 years of substantial earnings where you paid into Social Security), regardless of which system you choose. So, no advantage to FERS except the matching funds for TSP. Better to get the higher guaranteed pension in CSRS-Offset. I was in the same situation and happy I chose CSRS-Offset. It did take HR a few months to fix it, as they put me into FERS at first.
Thanks for your helpful summary of the pros and cons. Anyone who wants to learn more about the WEP can go to https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf