Offset reduction

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Q. I’m looking to retire after 38 years of federal service, including 4+ military & 4+ postal. I left the post office and returned to federal service a year later in 1985. I was included as a CSRS Offset, paid my military deposit and have paid into Social Security for over 39 yrs. When I retire, will my CSRS retirement be affected by a reduction when I apply and receive Social Security, or will my Social Security be reduced? The way I read most articles, is that I will receive my federal pension and Social Security without a reduction. Am I correct?
A. As long as you have 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security, there won’t be any reduction in your Social Security benefit. However, your CSRS annuity will be offset (reduced) by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a CSRS Offset employee.

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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.

3 Comments

  1. Tina Silvers on

    My mother retired from the Post Office in 1997 or 98. She came in under CSRS and later FERS, however, I guess she did not pay into social security at the time unknowingly. But she worked for years with the state prior to that and was not given credit for it. She receives the bare minimum from SSI. Is there anything that I can do to help her. She has worked over 50 years to only receive $250 per mo. Thank you

    • It appears that you mother’s only period of Social Security-covered employment was as a FERS employee. Because some of her retirement benefits were from retirement systems where she didn’t pay Social Security taxes, such as CSRS, she was subject to the government pension offset provision of law. To learn how and why the GPO reduced her Social Security benefit, go to https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf.

  2. She should still be receiving her CSRS pension and one from the State, if she qualified for one from there. Most State employees do not pay SS. Neither do CSRS employees. Any employment she had where she did pay into SS, like FERS, is subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision. The WEP reduces the amount of SS you are entitled to by about half. You would have to pay 30 years into SS to avoid the WEP. Here’s a link to the SS publication: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf

    The GPO affects spousal SS, not SS earned on your own record. However, if she was under FERS the last 5 years of her Federal service, she wouldn’t be affected by the GPO.

    You may want to make an appointment with the SSA to go over all these factors and see if there was some error.

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