CSRS payback options and spouse health coverage


Q. I have 31 years with the Postal Service, four years military. Started with USPS in March 1982. Also a disabled vet.

I am confused with the payback issue regarding my military service from 1974 to 1978. I opted not to pay back and, according to everything I am reading, if I do not qualify for Social Security at 62, there will not be a deduction in annual annuity.

However, I note that in the CSRS and FERS Handbook, it states the following:

“If nondeduction service was performed before Oct. 1, 1982, and deposit is not made, the basic annual annuity is reduced by 10 percent of deposit plus interest owed.”

I do not have enough credits to qualify for Social Security, thus I’m not sure if this applies to me.

Also, I would like to use the Veterans Affairs Department when I retire. However, I am not sure how to provide health insurance to my spouse. Should I keep my present insurance that covers her, or are there other options?

A. The passage you quoted from the handbook only applies to civilian service where retirement deductions weren’t taken from an employee’s pay. Post-1956 active duty service in the military is an entirely different matter. If, as you say, you’ll be retired and not eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62, your CSRS annuity won’t be affected.

One way you can continue to provide health benefits coverage for your spouse is to continue to be enrolled in the self-and-family option of your Federal Employees Health Benefits plan and be enrolled for the five consecutive years before you retire, so you can carry it into retirement.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

Leave A Reply