Retiree returning to federal work


Q. I am planning to retire at age 62 with 22 years in the federal government and in FERS as a Title 38 employee. I am aware that there will be a limited amount of money I can make without affecting Social Security benefits.

If I came back to work in my agency as a contract, fee basis or a consultant, would there be a penalty or offset in my federal FERS annuity?

A. As long as you weren’t considered an employee of the federal government, it wouldn’t affect your FERS annuity. Prudence suggests that you check with your agency first to be sure you’ll be free and clear. P.S. As you noted, you would be subject to the annual Social Security earnings limit, which could reduce or eliminate your Social Security benefit.


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  1. My relative works at the V.A. as a Title 38 medical professional. They have had many folks retire, then come back as contract workers. Often they do it until they finally get their full retirement annuity from the gov’t, which can take 10 months. The partial annuity they get wasn’t enough to live on, so working contract until their full annuity is received, sometimes at a higher rate than they made as a gov’t employee, works great.

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