Social Security deductions


Q. I am about to retire under CSRS. If I work in the private sector and earn 40+ credits, will I be able to receive Social Security benefit payments along with my CSRS retirement annuity without any offset? If the answer is no and I go to work in the private sector, or for myself, do I/they have to withhold Social Security taxes from my salary since I will not be able to draw Social Security benefits (why would you have to pay into something you cannot receive benefits from later)?

A. Social Security deductions from earnings are a requirement of law, whether or not you will ever be eligible for a benefit. However, if you earn enough credits to be eligible for a Social Security benefit, it will be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP will reduce but not eliminate that benefit if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.


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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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