CSRS Offset


Q. I worked in CSRS from 1972 to 1988 and returned in May 1990 as a CSRS Offset. I was a reservist on active duty from March 1991 to March 1992 during Desert Storm. I also have been drawing Social Security since May 2006. My husband passed away in September 2008, and I am receiving the survivor benefit. I want to retire this year, and I have no idea what I will receive. I think my total Social Security is about 27 or 28 years for paying.

A. As a CSRS Offset employee who is already receiving a Social Security benefit, when you retire, your CSRS annuity will be offset by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while you were covered by CSRS Offset.

While you will get credit for your period of active-duty service in determining your total years of service, you won’t get credit for that time in your annuity computation unless you make a deposit to the retirement fund.

To estimate what you’d receive in your CSRS annuity, use this formula:

.015 x your highest three years of average basic pay x 5 years, plus

.0175 x your high-3 x 5 years of service, plus

.02 x your high-3 x all remaining years of service, not including any active-duty service for which you haven’t paid a deposit.

Because you’ll be receiving part of your annuity from CSRS, you’ll be subject to the windfall elimination provision, which will reduce your Social Security benefit if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. On the other hand, because you will have been covered by Social Security for the 60 months before you retire, your Social Security survivor benefit won’t be subject to the government pension offset.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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