Q: I am a retired federal employee and I was receiving a monthly annuity of $4,200, but when I recently turned 62, OPM reduced my annuity to $3,550, and told me it was because I was eligible to collect Social Security benefits, even though I am not collecting Social Security benefits and do not plan to do so until I am at least 65. I did have two years of active military service, which I paid for while I was working, so that those two years would be figured into my annuity calculation. It appears to me that the federal government is almost forcing me to take my Social Security benefits at the younger age of 62, otherwise, I lose the $600 and some dollars that they have deducted from my annuity. I read information at “catch-62,” and how your annuity can be recalculated downward if you did not pay toward your military service time prior to retirement. But catch-62 makes no mention of a reduction at age 62, based on the sole fact that I became eligible for Social Security benefits, yet did not elect to collect those benefits. I am very confused by all this, and I am not getting much cooperation out of OPM. I worked at the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, which is part of the Defense Logistics Agency.
A: Apparently, you were a CSRS Offset employee, with deductions for CSRS and Social Security taken from your pay. When you became eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62, the law required that your CSRS annuity be offset by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while covered by CSRS Offset. That reduction was automatic and is not connected to when, or if, you apply for a Social Security benefit.