Catch-62 questions


Q. I retired in 2010 with 40 years of service, including four years of military service (1972-1976) that I did not pay back. While I am 62 and don’t qualify for Social Security yet, I recently received a notice that I now qualify for survivor benefits. Will this affect my CSRS annuity? Second, is the one-time Catch 62 check at age 62 in law or process? My concern is that if it is process, then it could easily be changed because of the budget situation to check every year after age 62 or when you start to draw Social Security if you qualify after age 62.

A. The so-called Catch-62 provision is law. If you didn’t make a deposit to get credit for that period of active-duty service and weren’t eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62, then you’re home free.

OPM checks only once: at age 62 if you are retired or when you retire if it’s after age 62.

While you may qualify for a Social Security survivor benefit, it’s unlikely that you’ll receive it. Because you are receiving an annuity from CSRS, a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, you’ll be subject to the government pension offset. The GPO will reduce that benefit by $2 for every $3 you receive in your CSRS annuity.


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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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