Federal retirement with unpaid military service


Q.  I am 66 years old and will be retiring from federal service (CSRS) at the end of this year.  I have four years military time, however, that I have not paid back.  I do not have 40 quarters of Social Security.  My wife is currently on Social Security from her own earnings.  Do I need to be concerned about paying back my military time (Catch 62) because of my wife’s earning?

A.  Because you are over age 62 and won’t be eligible for a Social Security benefit when you retire, the fact that you didn’t make a deposit for your four years of military service won’t affect your annuity. However, any spousal Social Security benefit to which you may be entitled based on your wife’s work record will likely be eliminated by the government pension offset. The GPO reduces the spousal Social Security benefit of anyone receiving an annuity from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes. The reduction would be $2 for every $3 you receive in your CSRS annuity.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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