Q. I was a federal employee for two different federal agencies, one from September 1973 through July 1976 and another from May 1979 through January 1986. By my calculations, I have a total of 9 1/2 years of federal service. I withdrew all of my retirement contributions when I left each job. If I can find a federal job now for six months or longer, can I buy back my time and get CSRS pension and health care benefits? I’m 59 years old, if that makes a difference.
A. If you returned to the federal government, you’d be placed in CSRS Offset (CSRS and Social Security). If you redeposited the money that was refunded to you, plus accrued interest, you’d be eligible to retire at age 62 and receive a CSRS annuity. That annuity would be offset by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while covered by CSRS Offset. The dollar amount would be the same; the money would just come from two places. That offset wouldn’t affect any other Social Security benefit you are due based on nonfederal employment.