Social Security benefit will be reduced


Q: I retired at age 55 with 34-plus years of service. I quit after 13 years of civil service and returned to civil service after 3 1/2 years of private employment.  I just turned 61. I paid Social Security for over 20 years.  If I elect to request Social Security benefits at age 62, how will this affect my civil service pension?

A: Because you are now covered by CSRS Offset, at age 62 your annuity will be offset by the amount of Social Security benefits you earned while covered by CSRS Offset. The net effect will be that you’ll get the same amount of money, but it will come from two different places: the Office of Personnel Management and the Social Security Administration. However, since you will be receiving an annuity partly based on employment where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes and have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under it, your Social Security benefit will be reduced through the workings of the windfall elimination provision.


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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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