Q. I am a CSRS Offset employee. I am 65 years old with 32 years of federal service and will retire Jan. 3. I will turn 66 in March. When I retire, $675 will be deducted from my monthly annuity — not much left to retire on. The benefit counselor told me to apply for Social Security now to start receiving in January. If I do that, would my Social Security be reduced since I’ll be two months short of being 66 years old?
A. While it’s true that your CSRS annuity will be reduced by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a CSRS Offset employee, if you apply for a Social Security benefit when you retire, you’ll receive the same amount of money. It will just come from two different places: the Office of Personnel Management and the Social Security Administration. Applying for a Social Security before reaching your full Social Security retirement age of 66 would reduce your maximum Social Security benefit by a few percent. It’s up to you to decide whether to have a seamless transition to retirement and receive a slightly lower Social Security benefit or have a financial bump and then be back on track with a slightly higher Social Security benefit.