CSRS Offset and Social Security payments


Q. I am a soon-to-be 68-year-old CSRS Offset employee returning to work in 1988. I did not pay back the retirement contributions I took out when I left government service in 1980 and realize my CSRS annuity will be reduced to pay this back. I plan on working several more years.

Is there any disadvantage or effect on my total retirement annuity (combination of CSRS and Social Security) if I start receiving Social Security payments now?

I plan on electing full survivor benefits for my wife, a FERS government employee 15 years younger. Is there any effect on the survivor benefit/annuity?

Is there any reason I should not start collecting Social Security now?

A. Even though you are still employed, because you have already reached your full Social Security retirement age, you can apply now and receive an unreduced Social Security benefit. Once you retire, your CSRS annuity will be offset by the amount of Social Security benefits you earned while covered by CSRS Offset. As you noted, your CSRS annuity will also be reduced to account for the fact that you took a refund of your retirement contributions and didn’t redeposit it. As a result, your annuity will be actuarially reduced based on the amount you owe, plus accrued interest.

If you elect a full survivor annuity for your spouse, your annuity will be reduced by approximately 10 percent to pay for that benefit. If, with her approval in writing, you elect a lesser amount, the reduction will be smaller.


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.

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