Annuity reduction and Social Security


Q. I am a federal annuitant who retired under the Civil Service Retirement System Offset program. I retired at age 55 with 30 years of service. Prior to age 62, I received the full retirement payments of a CSRS annuitant. Eight months after my 62nd birthday, I received a letter from the Office of Personnel Management stating that my annuity would be reduced by about $456 a month. I was further assessed a reduction of another $255 for each of the eight months of overpayments I had received. Apparently, I had fallen through a crack, and an audit showed the overpayments. The two options I was provided was: pay back all of the overpayments in a lump sum ($4,300) or have $255 deducted from my annuity each month until the all of the overpayments were satisfied. I opted to pay the lump sum. I am eligible to receive Social Security but have held off until now. I will be 65 in May. Should I apply for Social Security benefits at age 65?

A. The reduction in your CSRS Offset annuity was required by law, as was the collection of the annuity overpayment. To receive a Social Security benefit, you need to apply for it. You can do that by calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or apply online at Social Security benefits aren’t retroactive. They begin only after you have applied. On the bright side, because you will be applying for a Social Security benefit close to or at your full Social Security retirement age, the amount you’ll receive will be greater than if you had applied at age 62.


About Author

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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