Social Security quarters of coverage


Q.  I work for the Social Security Administration and I can’t get a clear answer on this one. I have 38 years of federal service, all under CSRS. I am eligible to retire now. I also have 34 quarters of coverage under Social Security. If I retire now and then become re-employed as an annuitant, am I covered under FERS? If so, are my wages then counted towards getting the six additional quarters of coverage I need to get a Social Security benefit?

A.  If you are re-employed, you’ll automatically be placed in CSRS; however, if you’ve been separated from the service for at least three days, you’ll have the option of transferring to FERS. If you do that, deductions will be taken from your pay for both FERS and Social Security. Be aware of two things.

First, in most cases, your salary will be offset by the amount of your annuity.

Second, since you will be receiving an annuity from CSRS, a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, you’ll be subject to the windfall elimination provision when you apply for a Social Security benefit. The WEP  reduces, but doesn’t eliminate, that benefit for anyone who has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.



About Author

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

Leave A Reply