CSRS Offset and Social Security eligibility payments

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Q. My husband is employed and is a CSRS Offset employee. He is retiring in December 2013 at the age of 66½. Friends have told us he can apply for Social Security now, while he is just 65, and start earning a Social Security retirement benefit check. When he retires from the government, the SS retirement benefit will stop because he is CSRS Offset. Is this correct? Is there any reason an individual would not want to apply for Social Security retirement benefits while still working? I don’t know how much it would be, but for 16 months, it would be extra income every month that he wouldn’t normally get and won’t get after he retired next year.

A. Since he was born between 1943 and 1954, his full Social Security retirement age is 66. If he were to apply for a Social Security benefit while still working and not yet 66, he would be subject to the Social Security earnings test. That would reduce his Social Security benefit by $1 for every $2 in earnings about the annual limit. In 2012, that limit is $14,640.

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  1. “When he retires from the government, the SS retirement benefit will stop because he is CSRS Offset. Is this correct?” No, the SS benefit will not stop. However, it will be reduced due to the WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision). The current maximum reduction is $368/mo or half of the SS benefit, whichever is less.

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