Q. I was employed under CSRS from 1970 to 1983. I had a break in service from 1983 to 1985. In 1985, I returned to government service and was placed in the regular CSRS. After retiring in 2005, the Office of Personnel Management apparently discovered that for many years, I was placed in the wrong retirement system. It then classified me as a CSRS Offset retiree.
I received correspondence from OPM indicating they are reducing my annuity for Social Security benefits received. Since I never paid any Social Security during my civil service employment, is it right that I be penalized for benefits from Social Security? CSRS Pamphlet Retirement Facts 13 states, “Your annuity will not be reduced by any portion of your Social Security benefit that is based on service other than CSRS Offset employment.” I never paid Social Security under CSRS Offset during those years. Is it correct that I receive CSRS Offset for Social Security benefits?
A. OPM was required by law to change your coverage from CSRS to CSRS Offset, notify the Social Security Administration of the error, and transfer to them the amount of deductions that would have been withheld had you been in the right system. Then at age 62, OPM would be required to reduce your CSRS annuity by the amount of Social Security benefit you were now entitled to based on that period of CSRS Offset service. You would get the same amount of money, but it would come from two different places: OPM and the Social Security Administration.