Q. I worked for the federal government for 13½ years under CSRS. I left federal service in 1990 and withdrew my contributions because I never expected to go back. However, I was recently offered a job in the federal government that is worth taking and know I would have to go under FERS.
I was fairly young when I left the federal service, so I would work at least five more years before retiring. Can I buy back my previous 13½ years of federal service, and if so, would the deposit to buy back my time be based on what I received when I left in 1990, or would it be based on FERS contribution rates?
A. Because you took a refund before March 1, 1991, you’d get credit for that time in determining your total years of service. To get full credit for those years in your annuity computation, you’d have to redeposit the refund you received, plus accrued interest. If you didn’t, you annuity would be reduced actuarially based on the amount you owe and your age at retirement. If you were re-employed, your years of CSRS service would be treated as CSRS service. Therefore, you would be placed in CSRS Offset (CSRS and Social Security) with the option of transferring to FERS.