Q. I retired from civil service March 31 after 45 years and nine months under CSRS. Before that, I served three years in the military (1962-65), and other private industry jobs throughout the years went to Social Security to earn 40 quarters. At age 65, I started drawing a Social Security pension. Now, Social Security says it is reducing that check by half and I have to repay half of what was paid to me since April 1 unless I can prove it was not my fault I received the money. What? This all because I retired and started drawing my CSRS pension. What did they expect me to do, work until I drop dead? Why am I being penalized for working for the government?

A. Because you are receiving an annuity from a CSRS, a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, you are subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.


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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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