Ask for refund or wait on annuity?


Q: My husband has contributed $60,370 to the Civil Service Retirement Fund. He was employed by the Postal Service from Jan. 26, 1980, to Dec. 19, 2007. After writing to the Office of Personnel Management for a possible refund, we were informed he’s eligible for deferred annuity at age 62. This year, he will be 57 years old. He will not be seeking another federal job. We don’t know if we should just ask for a refund and roll it over into an IRA or just wait for his deferred annuity when he’s 62 in 2015. Can you tell me the advantages of waiting and disadvantages of leaving the retirement fund or withdrawing it as a refund. If we roll over the refund into an IRA, can it be invested?  If left in the retirement fund, will the contribution fund remain the same? How will it affect his Social Security when he is ready to retire? As of 2010, he has 28 credits.

A: If he receives a Civil Service Retirement System annuity and later has enough credits to be eligible for a Social Security benefit, that benefit would be reduced. The windfall elimination provision of law reduces but doesn’t eliminate the Social Security benefit of anyone who doesn’t have at least 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security and is receiving an annuity from a retirement system in which he didn’t pay Social Security taxes.


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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

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