Q. I went into the Navy on April 20, 1976, got out March 19, 1980, and went to work for the Army Department as a full-time permanent employee. I worked from Feb. 2, 1981, to Jan. 29, 1988, under CSRS. I left to work in private industry and took a payout for my retirement at that time. I went back to work for the federal government on May 8, 1989, and worked for the Navy Department until Aug. 29, 1997, under the CSRS interim/offset plan. When the base closed, I transferred to the U.S. Postal Service on Aug. 30, 1997, and still employed by USPS. I understand I can still retire at 55 with 30 years, but my annuity payment will be reduced unless I redeposit money I took out plus interest. What happens when I become eligible for Social Security?
A. First, unless you redeposit the refund you received, with interest, your annuity will be reduced when you retire. Second, if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security, your Social Security benefit will be reduced, but not eliminated.