Mandatory retirement before Social Security


Q: I am an air traffic controller with the DoD. I will reach 20 years of service at age 59 years and 2 months. As an air traffic controller, I will face mandatory retirement. 1) Since I will not be eligible for Social Security, are there benefit programs available to me to bridge the gap from mandatory retirement to Social Security? 2) Will my civil service government pension impact the amount I receive from Social Security? 3) I draw a military retirement pension; will this pension impact my Social Security benefits?

A: You will receive the special retirement supplement, which approximates the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while you were a FERS employee. That benefit continues to age 62, when you become eligible for a Social Security benefit. At age 62 your Social Security benefit will be recomputed to included all of your Social Security-covered employment. However, both your SRS and your Social Security benefit can be reduced or suspended if you have earnings from wages or self employment that exceed the Social Security earnings limit.


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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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