Q. I was a federal government employee for approximately seven to eight years under CSR;  1980-88. When I resigned, I did cash out.  I also have had four years of military active duty (after 1988) and have 20 years of credible service in the reserves. In 2004, I was offered a government job and was informed that with all things considered, I would come back in with approximately 14 years of service. Today, I believe that number would be around 16 years.

My question: If I were to accept career employment with the federal government under the FERS program, approximately how many retirement years could I buy back and at what cost?

A. If you take a job with the federal government, you would intitially be placed in CSRS Offset (CSRS and Social Security) with the option of electing to be covered by FERS. You would get credit for any prior CSRS service and any active-duty service in the armed forces. Based on the information you provided that would amount to between 11 and 12 years. Because you took a refund of your CSRS contributions before March 1, 1991, you would have the option of repaying the outstanding amount, plus accrued interest, or having your annuity actuarially reduced based on your age and how much you owe on the day your retire.

Because you were first employed under CSRS before Oct. 1, 1982, you can either make a deposit to the civilian retirement fund for your years of active-duty service or not make a deposit, receive service credit for that time when you retire, and have your annuity recomputed at age 62 to eliminate those years if you are eligible for a Social Security benefit. If you retired after reaching age 62, the reduction would occur on the day you retire.
If you are re-employed by the federal government, your agency will be able to guide you through the steps necessary to find out how much you would owe and what to do if you decide to make redeposit and/or deposit.

About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

Leave A Reply