Reduced Social Security benefit


Q: I served in the Air Force from 1971 to 1977. In 1977, I joined the Air National Guard. I retired from the Air National Guard in 1991 with 20 years of military service. In 1977, I also got a job with the federal government as a civilian employee under the Civil Service Retirement System. In 1986, I paid back my six years of active-duty time I spent in the Air Force into CSRS. I am planning to retire in 2011 from the federal government with 40 years creditable service in CSRS (this includes the six years of military time I paid back). Also in 2011, I will begin receiving my reserve retirement since I will be 60 years old. Can I receive both my CSRS retirement (40 years) and my reserve retirement (20 years) at the same time without any consequences? Also, I have enough good years to receive Social Security benefits starting at age 62. What, if any, consequences will occur when I begin receiving my Social Security payments when I am 62?

A: Yes, you will be able to receive both your CSRS annuity and reserve retired pay with no reduction in either. However, your Social Security benefit may be affected by the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes, such as CSRS, and has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.


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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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