Q. I am a 55-year-old CSRS Offset retiree. I have 32½ years of Social Security paid in, with all but 4½ years being in the federal government. My first four years (1980-83) in federal job were temporary appointments where I paid Social Security only. I paid the 10-82 post deposit right before I retired. Twenty-three years (1984-2007) were CSRS interim and Offset. I know my offset annuity will be offset 57.5 percent when I turn 62. Because I have less than 10 years of Social Security paid in private sector, will my total offset and Social Security check only equal what my current annuity would be right before I turn 62? Or will I get my entire Social Security amount due for all credits (federal and Social Security) plus my CSRS (42.5 percent after offset) annuity?
I have called the Office of Personnel Management, and they say the less than 10 years’ worth of private-sector Social Security credits will not reduce my Social Security check at all. I want to believe them but would feel better if you confirmed it.
Also, if I need 10 years of private-sector Social Security to get full Social Security benefits, would my temporary appointment time prior to becoming offset in 1984 count toward private-sector type credits? I have 30 years of substantial Social Security earnings, and I never worked a job in which I didn’t pay Social Security taxes. Does the windfall elimination provision apply to me?
A. At age 62, your CSRS annuity will be reduced by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a CSRS Offset employee. Included in that offset will be the temporary service for which you made a deposit. The amount you receive will be the same, but it will come from two different places: OPM and the Social Security Administration. Any additional Social Security benefit you earned from other employment will be in addition to that. If, as you say, you have 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security, you won’t be subject to the windfall elimination provision.