Q. I am 60 and work for USPS. I have 39 years and one month of federal service, including eight years, three months and 14 days’ military service that I paid into and two years, five months and 25 days of previous civil service. I also worked in the private sector and have accumulated more than 90 quarters for Social Security from part-time jobs and the military.
Because I worked for CSRS and did not pay into Social Security from that job, I know that will affect my Social Security benefit. The quarters I acquired don’t meet the “substantial earnings” amount for each year, but I did get twice as many as I needed to get Social Security. Is there a calculation that would take into account the number of quarters I have and take less from my Social Security check?
A. No. You have to have 30 years of substantial earnings to entirely avoid the reduction. If you have fewer than 30 such years, the first multiplier in the Social Security formula — 90 percent — is reduced by 5 percent until it reaches 40 percent for those with 20 or fewer years of substantial earnings.