Deposit or not …

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Q. I’m a U.S. Postal Service employee under the CSRS. Should I buy back my two years of military service? I have 39 quarters paid into Social Security.

A. If you don’t make a deposit, those years won’t be included when your CSRS annuity is calculated. If you do, your annuity would be increased by 4 percent. To find out what it would cost you to make that deposit, you’ll need to complete a copy of Form RI-20-97, Estimated Earnings During Military Service, and mail it to the military finance center for your branch of service with a copy of your DD 214, Report of Transfer or Discharge. When you get that information, take it to your payroll office with a copy of your DD 214 and a Standard Form 3108. Your payroll office will figure out how much you owe and arrange for you to make the deposit if you decide to do that.

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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.

7 Comments

  1. If he is CSRS with 39 quarters, his military service SHOULD count towards his CSRS retirement, as did mine.

    The NEXT Question is what to do about the 39 quarters of SS contributions he paid in.
    Now, when he retires, at age 62 they will determine if he is eligible for SS benefits.
    If NOT, nothing will happen, his CSRS pension payments will stay the same.

    If He IS over age 62 when he retires, they will check to see if he’s eligible for SS Benefits shortly after he retires.
    IF NOT Eligible for SS payments, again, his CSRS Pension will stay the same. (as did mine)

    Here’s the catch…
    If after they check to see if he’s eligible for SS payments, and he is not, under both circumstances, They will NEVER Check again.
    At that point, he is free to go out and become eligible for SS payments (4 credits/4 quarters) and become eligible for it, however, they will reduce his SS payments because of the WEP (or GPO, can’t recall which), but his CSRS pension will remain the same.
    ANY one getting a CSRS pension and SS will be subject to the WEP (or GPO) whichever is applicable though.

    I retired @ 57 in 2012, and have 38 years in SS, so I need approx. 7 credits to get SS and I’ve verified this data, but I’m wondering if it’s worth the approx. $150 / month

    • Everything you’re written about CSRS and Social Security is true. Only you can decide whether gaining those additional Social Security credits is worth doing.

  2. My letter from OPM states (Applies to CSRS only)

    “According to our records you are 62 or will be shortly. Since you had military service after December 31, 1956, we recently contacted the Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine if you are entitled to Social Security benefits.

    We have been notified that you are not entitled to benefits from the Social Security Administration; therefore, we have issued you annuity to include all your military service.”

    If you are CSRS, and have less than 40 quarters, DO NOT BUY BACK military time. You can pick up your 40 quarters (subject to WEP provisions) following your retirement without penalty.

    • The only caveat to this is if you are CSRS and were hired ON or AFTER 10-01-1982. In that case, you MUST buy back the military time or it will never count towards your annuity.

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