Federal employment and Social Security


Q. Does the U.S. Post Office have the option of not paying into Social Security? I’m asking because my father worked for 36 years for the Post Office and was denied Social Security with the explanation that he wasn’t covered by Social Security while a Postal Service employee. This makes no sense to me because I thought that coverage was automatic and mandatory. How is it at all possible for someone to not pay into Social Security when it’s taken out of your check?

Is there an option of not paying into it? Is there something that my father, as well as myself, am missing in this one? This sound very fishy.

A. In all likelihood, your father was a Civil Service Retirement System employee. As a result, Social Security deductions weren’t taken from his pay. With one exception, Social Security deductions are only taken from federal employees covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System, which became effective on January 1, 1987. That exception applies to a small number of  employees who were covered by both CSRS and Social Security (CSRS Offset) and elected not to be covered by FERS.


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. OMAR Hechavarria on

    Dear Mr Jones
    After 30+ yrs of service with USPS, I was denied supplemental income. According to 5CFR 842.503 (eligibility)the very first provision for eligibility is 30 yrs of service; meaning that it has a especial meaning to reach 30 yrs and makes you entitled. Explain this one

    • Assuming that you are referring to the special retirement supplement, to receive it you must not only have 30 years of service but also must have reached you minimum retirement age, which ranges between 55 and 57 depending on your year of birth. Note: The SRS ends at age 62.

      • Mr. Jones,

        I have a similar question, 30 years of credible service under FERS I resigned at age 53 my MRA is now 55, but I was told I couldn’t do postponed retirement because I didn’t separate at MRA 55 would I be eligible under deferred and receive SRS supplements?

  2. Mr. Jones,

    I’ve vested 5 yrs in FERS, 3-tiers, 30 yrs in Federal Svc and found out I’ll be penalized no supplemental SRS due to I resigned before MRA eligible. I will lose benefits under deferred/postponed retirement because I separated before the MRA 55. Will it matter if I wait to apply deferred retirement until age 55. Please advise

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