Receiving Social Security while a federal employee


Q. I am a 66-year-old CSRS employee who has earned 40 quarters of Social Security credit based on nonfederal employment. Can I receive a Social Security income before I retire from federal service? If so, would the Social Security income benefit be the maximum I am entitled to as if I was not employed by the federal government?
I understand that once I retire from federal service my SSI will be reduced but not zeroed out.

A. Correct on both counts. Because you have already reached full retirement age, you can earn as much as you want without affecting your Social Security benefit. However, when you retire, that benefit will be subject to the windfall elimination provision, which, because you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security, will be reduced but not eliminated.


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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

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