Q. Husband, age 54, is retiring under Voluntary Early Retirement Authority on Dec. 31. He has 31 years with the Postal Service under CSRS and three years with the military and did not pay back his military time. He has 19 quarters earned for Social Security. He does not intend to earn the full 40 quarters of Social Security prior to age 62. If he earns the full 40 quarters after age 62 — say, at age 64 — what will happen?
A. The Office of Personnel Management only checks twice with the Social Security Administration: at age 62 if he’s retired, or when he retires, if it’s at or after age 62. If he isn’t eligible for a Social Security benefit, his CSRS annuity won’t be affected by the fact that he didn’t make a deposit to get credit for his active-duty service. However, if he later becomes eligible for a Social Security benefit, that benefit will be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP would reduce, but not eliminate, that benefit if he has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.