Q: In your Jan. 25 article “New year, same COLA,” you say that the Social Security withholding stays at $106,800, and that “if you are a Federal Employees Retirement System or Civil Service Retirement System Offset employee, any amount you earn above that amount won’t be subject to the 6.2 percent Social Security deduction.”
However, I am a GS-810-14, Step 10, Forest Service employee under CSRS Offset and the National Finance Center withholds Social Security from my paycheck for the entire year. Withholding from my paycheck doesn’t cease at the $106,800 limit. This seems contradictory to what the article states. Can you please explain?
A: According to the Office of Personnel Management, when the total basic pay paid in a calendar year reaches the Social Security maximum taxable wage base, the deduction rate reverts to the “full” CSRS employee withholding rate. Agencies must ensure that the deductions on the first dollar of basic salary paid to CSRS Offset employees over the Social Security wage base are made at the full CSRS rate and that the reversion to full withholding is reflected during the pay period in which it occurs. While the place that the deductions go — Social Security or OPM — will change, the amount that’s deducted stays the same. That’s because most CSRS Offset employees contribute 0.8 percent to CSRS and 6.2 percent to Social Security, for a total of 7 percent. When the wage base is exceeded, 7 percent is paid to CSRS.