Q: I was a Civil Service Retirement System employee who quit after eight years of service to take care of my ailing mother. After the what I believe is the three year window for rehire into CSRS, I never tried to go back. It has been 20 years. Recently, I have heard of a legal case that might allow me to be rehired under CSRS. Under what circumstances could I now go back as a CSRS rehire?
When I was hired originally in 1981, I was eligible for a GS-9, but took a much lower grade so I could get on board sooner to start earning money. I was assured that I would be able to move to the higher grade quickly. It never happened. I left as a GS-6, despite having been left in place in two positions where I was doing the duties of GS-12s who had gone elsewhere. I have been assured that under current rules, if I am eligible for a GS-12, I will be hired as a GS-12. Is that really likely? What is the rumor-mill saying?
A: Since you had at least five years of service under CSRS, if you were to return to work for the federal government, you would be offered a choice of being covered by CSRS Offset (CSRS and Social Security) or the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). No legal case was required to make this happen. It’s a matter of law and has been since 1987.
If you apply for a job with the federal government, your grade level will be determined the same way that it has always been. You can be hired or rehired into any grade level position for which you meet the requirements.