Retirement pay


Q. I retired from the Postal Service after 30 years in June 2010. At the time, I did not repay my military service, which was 2½ years. I receive my Civil Service pension based on a combined civil service of 33 years.

I also do not qualify for Social Security, as I have fewer than 40 credits (39). I also know that if I do not qualify for Social Security at age 62, after that point the Civil Service will always remain for a 33-year retirement that they do not continue to check eligibility. If I get re-employed with the post office as a relief postmaster part time, will this change my civil service retirement by taking the military time away from my civil service retirement and putting it into Social Security? If this does affect my retirement, how much of a hit on the Civil Service will I take, versus how much will I make in Social Security? I know that once I qualify for Social Security, my pension will reduce the amount I receive from Social Security due to the windfall elimination provision.

A. If you were re-employed by the Postal Service, the pay of your new position would be reduced by the amount of your unreduced annuity. As a result, you might be working for peanuts or even nothing. Assuming that you received enough pay to make it worth your effort, you’d be covered by CSRS and Social Security, unless you elected to be covered by FERS. In either case, you’d be earning Social Security credits. If you later became eligible for a Social Security benefit, it would be impacted by the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system, such as CSRS, where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes and has fewer than 30 years of substantial earning under Social Security.


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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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