Re-employment pay limits


Q: I am a retired Civil Service Retirement System annuitant with 32 years of Defense Department service. If I accept another civil service position (DoD or otherwise), what are the pay limitations? In my case, what is the pay cap for San Diego, under the 2011 pay scale? Would my pension be considered as part of a total compensation package (Level 1 cap), or part of pay only (level IV cap)? 
Also, is consideration as a re-employed annuitant feasible? I understand pay-cap limitations are considerably less stringent, but the DoD guidelines are extrememly difficult for the hiring agency to meet.

A: First and foremost, nonsalary income, such as an annuity, isn’t considered when determining an employee’s maximum pay limitation. If you are applying for a General schedule position, the maximum pay limitation is Level V of the Executive Schedule, excluding any locality payment or special rate supplements. The salary for Executive Level V is currently $145,700, while the salary for a GS-15, step 10, in the San Diego locality pay area is $155,500.
Whether you would be able to secure a position as a re-employed annuitant is an open question. It would depend on an agency’s needs and the extent to which your skills and experience are a match. As a rule, the salaries of re-employed annuitants are offset by the amount of their annuities. Therefore, before accepting a position, you’d need to find out if you would be eligible for an exception that would allow you to receive both your annuity and an unreduced salary. If you were eligible, be aware that you would receive no additional retirement benefits for the period of time you were re-employed.


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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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