Earnings limit


Q: I retired from federal law enforcement at age 53 after 25 years service in 2009, and began to receive the FERS annuity supplemental. I worked in private industry from August 2009 – August 2010, and again from November 2011 – September 2014, during which time my FERS supplement was justifiably reduced and then stopped. I have not worked since October, 2014 and would like to re initiate the Supplement. Question; how would I do that and will I receive the supplement retroactively from January 2015 to present?

A: The earnings limitation applies to all earnings in a given calendar year. OPM conducts a Survey each February for the previous calendar year. If a retiree’s earnings exceed the annual Social Security earnings limit, the special retirement supplement will be stopped or reduced effective July 1 of the year following the year the earnings were exceeded. If during any calendar year, the earnings limitation isn’t exceeded, then the supplement is restored effective January 1 (quite often retroactively). According to OPM, “Annuitants will often believe that since they did not work in 2015 (or they quit their job), then the Supplement must be restored for that year. Not true. January 1 of the next year, because we have to check on earnings received all the way through December 31. We get our earnings information from the Survey, from inquiries from annuitants, from SS matches, from IRS inquiries, etc.”


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.

1 Comment

  1. Mr. Jones
    Specific to the question above, I too have provided my 2015 Tax return and all relevant W2’s to OPM illustrating that I did not work during the 2015 calendar year. The information was provided for the purpose of in reinstating my FERS Supplement Annuity. 1) will I receive my supplement in full for 2015 now that the information has been provided , 2) When will I begin receiving my supplement for 2016 as I am not working for that calendar year either.

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