Monthly Archives: December, 2012

Combine Postal, reserve service?


Q. I am a postal employee looking to continue my service with the Army Reserve. Child care cost is about to pass my income level with the Postal Service. With my wife as the main bread winner, we are considering having me separate from the Postal Service to be a homemaker. I have 15 years with the Postal Service and some military time. If I enter the Army Reserve, could I combine my Postal Service years with the reserve retirement? A. No, you can’t. There is no provision in law that would permit you to get credit for your civilian…

Earnings limit


Q. I am a retired Marine veteran with 27-plus years of service. I have been employed since in 2004 (the same year I retired from the Marine Corps). I am employed with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Am I allowed to draw Social Security benefits since I retired from the military? And can I still work at my present employment while collecting Social Security? I enlisted in the Marine Corps in November 1975 and retired in February 2004. I am 55 years old. A. While you could apply for a Social Security benefit at age 62 while still working, you…

Offset payment denied


Q. Since retirement and receiving pension from CSRS Offset at age 59, the offset was applied at age 62. Can I be denied payment of the offset amount by Social Security? Denial was based on my current self-employment with an income higher than the minimum level for early retirement. I am qualified for other retirement benefits at age 66. A. Yes, if you exceeded the Social Security annual earnings limit. It reduces your Social Security benefit by $1 for every $2 you earn above the limit, which is $14,640 in 2012. If you had reached your full Social Security retirement…

Special retirement supplement


Q. I am a foreign service officer and plan to retire at age 51 under FSPS (similar to FERS). FSOs may retire as early as age 50 if they have at least 20 years of service. I had understood that the Social Security earned income limit (currently $14,160) would be applied to my annuity supplement (like FERS supplement) after my first year of retirement. However, another FSO who is already retired told me that her tax accountant told her that income over the $14,160 earned income limit does not reduce the FSPS annuity supplement until the retiree reaches 56 years…

Social Security quarters


Q. I worked for the Department of Corrections as an officer for 18 years. I had a private retirement plan, so the department didn’t pay into Social Security. Then I had a medical retirement. Will I still receive any benefits? Prior to working for the department, I had worked and accumulated 38 quarters, which didn’t amount to much money. Do I still also have to get to 40 quarters? A. No, you won’t receive any Social Security benefit unless you have 40 credits. To get the additional two credits you need, you’d have to earn $2,260 in wages or self-employment…

CSRS Offset


Q. I retired as a federal employee in 2007. I took an early-out and am receiving my pension. I was CSRS Offset. I am working full time at a local school district and am 58 years old. The way I understand what I’ve read so far is that when I turn 62, using the formula that has been in your other responses, Social Security will be paying about $550 of my annuity payment. I will have 28 years of Social Security payments when I reach 62. My Social Security benefit at that point, should I retire, will be 20 percent…



Q. I recently read that beginning Jan. 1, 2013, all new federal employees will be covered under FERS-Revised Annuity Employee, which basically means they will have to pay an additional 2.3 percent into FERS. However, per the Office of Personnel Management memo, “There are three exceptions to this general rule and the date Dec. 31, 2012, is a key date for each of those exceptions. An individual will be excluded from FERS-RAE coverage if any of these exceptions apply: 1. The individual on Dec. 31, 2012, was covered under FERS; OR 2. The individual on Dec. 31, 2012, was performing…

Retirement date


Q. When is the last day of 2013 that I can retire and get a lump-sum payment for unused annual and sick leave? A. Assuming that you are talking about retiring at the end of the 2012 leave year, the answer is Jan. 12, 2013.

Substantial earnings


Q. I have been reading your responses regarding the windfall elimination provision and you continually say 30 years of “substantial” earnings under Social Security.  What are considered “substantial earnings”? I am 60 years old, with 26 years of government service and more than 16 years in private industry. I have almost 30 years that I paid into Social Security between the two. However, the earlier years were at a much lesser salary that I now make. (My earnings were $10,000 a year in the earlier years.) Does that qualify for “substantial earnings” under Social Security? Or will I have to…

Social Security computation


Q. I’m a CSRS/FERS hybrid federal retiree receiving Social Security and working part time. My earnings come close to but do not exceed the $14,000 limit. My employer withholds Social Security taxes from my earnings. Will my Social Security benefits ever increase because of my earnings? What if I earn in excess of the applicable yearly amount? A. If you are under full Social Security retirement age, your Social Security benefit would be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn through wages or self-employment. In 2012, that limit is $14,640. In the year you reach full retirement age, your…

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