FERS vs. CSRS Offset


Q. I worked for the federal government under CSRS from 1979 to 1989. When I left, I took out my money. I returned to federal service in 2011 and was erroneously placed in FERS. Now I have a decision to remain in FERS or the CSRS Offset. If I don’t pay back the money I owe and plan to retire in eight years at the age of 62, which is the better option for me?

A. You are asking for an opinion, which I can’t provide. You need to meet with the folks in your personnel office and have them describe the pluses and minuses of each possibility. Then you need to review the cost and benefit information and decide which option makes the best sense to you.


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  1. I was in almost your same position, leaving the government in 1990 and returning in 2004. My husband had returned in 1999. He selected FERs since he had had a successful career as a VP in aerospace and was returning as an SES. We thought he might want to leave again and wanted the TSP match and portability. When I returned, we decided to balance it off in CSRS Offset. (note: the info available on the choices was very limited). KNowing what I know now…and espcially if we could have known the future, we would have made opposite decisions.
    Before choosing CSRS offset make sure that you have 40 quarters of Social Security Substantial Contributions so your SS is not reduced. And also check on the Windfall provisions and make sure they are not going to apply to you. Then, if you dont have another pension, definitely oick CSRS offset if you can pay back the prior disbursements of retirement. Otherwise, do more investigation of the alternatives

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