Q. I am trying to clarify Catch-62. I was hired in 1981 and I have 31 years in CSRS at age 55. I also have four years of military service that I have not bought back. If I have 24 quarters of Social Security, by age 62, will the four years of military automatically be added to my SSA quarters, thus reducing my CSRS pension? Or will I have to have the 40 quarters at age 62 beyond the 16 quarters paid while in the military?

A. Since Jan. 1, 1957, every member of the military has had Social Security deductions taken from his salary. If you had four years of service, you have already earned 16 credits. Therefore, if you earn 24 more credits, you’ll have the 40 credits needed to be eligible for a Social Security benefit. Whether that will make you subject to Catch-62 depends.

If you have not made a deposit for your years of active-duty service, retire before age 62 and are eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62, those four years of active-duty service will be eliminated and your annuity recomputed downward. If you retire at or after age 62 and are eligible for a Social Security benefit at that time, the same thing will happen. If you aren’t eligible for a Social Security benefit at either of those points, you won’t be subject to Catch-62.


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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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