Retirement systems


Q: I am 54 years old and just recently returned to the federal government. I have been placed in CSRS Offset and my time is running out to determine if I want to go to the Federal Employees Retirement System. I previously worked for the federal government for 10 years between 1982 and 1992, under the Civil Service Retirement System and have 22 years of substantial earnings in the private sector. Which retirement system would be the best choice based on my background? Also, do CSRS Offset employees earn Social Security substantial earning credits on their years, while employed with the federal government?

A: I can’t tell you which would be the better option. There are too many variables. Therefore, you may want to consult a financial adviser who is familiar with the federal government’s retirement systems. What I can tell you is that the thresholds for substantial earnings are low enough that any full-time federal employees would meet them. For example, in 2010 that figure is $19,800.


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