Q. I am considering reinstatement. I was with the Treasury Department for seven years and nine months, and left in January 1981 as Grade 12, Step 1. I received a refund of retirement contributions of approximately $6,000 when I left. How can I approximate what my pension will be if I return to the Treasury Department at a Grade 13, Step 1 and work for 5½ years. How would this calculation work if I wanted to calculate the pension at different dates?

At the time I left, I was not required to make Social Security withholdings. I have made Social Security deposits in private industry jobs for the past 32 years. Will I be required to have Social Security withheld?

A. Because you took a refund of your CSRS retirement contributions before Feb. 28, 1991, you’ll receive credit for that time in determining your total years of service. If you redeposit the amount you owe, plus accrued interest, you’ll also get credit for that time in your annuity computation. If you don’t, your annuity will be actuarially reduced based on the amount you owe and your age when you retire.

If you return to work for the government, you will be placed in CSRS Offset (CSRS and Social Security) with the option of transferring to FERS. In either case, Social Security deductions will be taken from your pay. Because of the variables involved, it’s impossible to tell you what your annuity would be. All I can do is provide you with the formulas for CSRS and FERS:

CSRS: 0.015 x your highest three consecutive years of average salary x five years of service, plus

0.0175 x your high-3 x five years of service, plus

0.02 x your high-3 x all remaining years and full months of service

FERS: 0.01 x your high-3 x all years of service, unless you retire at age 60 or older with at least 20 years of service. In that case, the multiplier would be increased to 0.011.

Note: If you elect to stay in CSRS Offset, at age 62, if you are retired, or when you retire if it’s after age 62, your CSRS annuity will be offset by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while covered by CSRS Offset. If you elect to be covered by FERS, you’ll have a CSRS component in your annuity.


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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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