Earnings limit


Q. I’m a retired federal employee at 58 years with 30 years. When I retired the information I received was if I went to work, I was limited to making $15,000 a year before losing my Social Security supplement. Is that still the correct answer?

A. The annual earnings limit applies to the special retirement supplement of FERS retirees who are under full Social Security retirement age. With rare exception, the limit changes every year. It hasn’t been close to $15,000 since 2001. This year it’s $17,040.


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. I see you have written the 2018 earnings limit is $23850, however all the literature I have read has stated it is $17040. Please explain and verify your sources.


    • Thanks for catching that. The 2018 earnings test is $17,040, just as you wrote. I mistakenly used the windfall elimination provision figure for 2018.

    • The amount you can earn from wages or self employment is 80 percent of the current rate of basic pay for the position you held before you retired on disability.

  2. I was told that i am not collecting social security, so i would not lose the supplement. So what you are saying is that if i am over the age of 57 years old and collecting the supplement i may lose the supplement if i make over $17,040.00. Tell me more about this supplement because i am unaware of any other way that i can lose it. See the problem with the government is they only give you the retirement class right before you go, when it should go through you entire career, this way you would see what is best for you. But again after 32 years in the government i should have learned.

    • You were misinformed. The special retirement supplement is paid out of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. It was included in the legislation establishing FERS as way to bridge the gap between when a FERS employee retires and when he is first eligible for a Social Security benefit. To parallel the Social Security rules, it provided that anyone earning more than the annual Social Security limit will have his SRS reduced or eliminated.

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