CSRS Offset and Social Security


Q: I worked for the government from 1966-1972 (six years) and withdrew my CSRS retirement at that time. From 1972 to 1988 I worked in private industry and paid Social Security. I returned to civil service in 1990 and was automatically enrolled into CSRS Offset. I retired June 30, 2010 with 26 years of credited government service and applied for my federal pension and Social Security. When the Social Security Administration calculates my offset, is my service outside government taken into consideration? The papers I received showed only 20 years of government service for their calculations, so I’m assuming that for offset purposes only government service should be considered. Is that correct? The reason I’m asking is twofold. The estimates I was given before retirement are different than the ones after retirement. Also I spoke to the local SSA Office and before retirement I was told the offset would not affect me. Now I am told it is almost half of my pension. I think they figured my service in private industry into the formula, which, from what I can find on the Internet, is not correct. If the SSA is only crediting me with 20 years of government service, then it would seem to me they shouldn’t be allowed to count my service outside the government for government pension offset calculations. Is this correct and if so, who can I go to to get this corrected? Unfortunately I don’t trust the offices who push us through and where we are nothing but another stack of papers to deal with. Is there an independent company I can rely on to give me an accurate calculation with which I can dispute SSA’s calculations?

A: The offset to your CSRS annuity should be based solely on your years of CSRS Offset service. To get a rough estimate of that reduction, take the last Social Security benefit estimate provided to you by the Social Security Administration, multiply it by your total years of CSRS Offset service rounded to the next higher year, and divide by 40. To get a more accurate estimate, use the software at www.FEDbens.us.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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