CSRS or CSRS Offset


Q. I am somewhat confused as to what the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset actually is. I am quite sure they have been taking Social Security out of my checks for the extent of my government employment, but it was my understanding that CSRS Offset retirees were still able to draw Social Security with their retirement checks.

Here’s some of my history, for context: I started working for the VA in March 1981. I have had no break in my service and chose not to switch to FERS when it was offered to me. I have completed nearly 35 years of service. I have told my HR specialist that I am planning to retire within the next 8 months and that I am CSRS Offset, but they were unsure as to why I was not just CSRS.

A. They were right to be unsure. Because you were first hired in 1981 and have had no break in service, you are covered by CSRS. You couldn’t be a CSRS Offset employee because only those employees that were first hired after December 31, 1983, (and certain rehires) could be covered by CSRS Offset. The Social Security deductions you are referring are to pay for your coverage under Medicare Part A. All federal employees have deductions for that benefit taken from their pay.


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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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