CSRS employment and Social Security

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Q. I retired under full CSRS (none offset) in January 2010 with 35 years’ federal service as a GS 14/10. I am 59 and don’t have the 40 credits required to receive Social Security benefits when I turn 62.

Is it worth it to take a part-time job just to get my 40 credits in, or will there be a reduction to my federal retirement that will hurt more than it will help? I haven’t earned very much in the private sector — just a few years before I became a CSRS employee in 1977, including the time I served in the Army, which I bought back to add to my CSRS time (included in the 35 years), but still paid a very small amount to Social Security while serving in the Army.

I have an opportunity to start a small business (~$10,000 per year).

Would it be better to have the business in my wife’s name to add to her Social Security rather than affect my CSRS? Or will I expect to see a small Social Security check when I hit age 62 if I get my 40 quarters in with Social Security?

A. Earning enough credits to be eligible for a Social Security benefit won’t affect your CSRS annuity. While your Social Security benefit would be subject to the windfall elimination provision, the WEP would only reduce — not eliminate — that benefit. To see how the WEP would affect your benefit, go to http://ssa.gov/pubs/10045.html.

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  1. recent retiree on

    Since the employee is 59 years old and has only worked under CSRS, he might want to check to see if he has sufficient quarters to obtain free Medicare Part A when he reaches 65. Otherwise, the premium is quite steep, ranging (for 2013) from $243 to $441 per month.

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