Law enforcement, Social Security and CSRS offset


Q. I have just retired after 31 years and 10 months of service as a federal law enforcement officer. My retirement was mandatory at age 57. I have over 20 years in 6c position. I am under CSRS Offset. I would like to collect Social Security as well as my government pension at age 57. Can I receive Social Security benefits at age 57? At age 62, what amount are my benefits offset?

A. The rules governing an entitlement to a Social Security benefit are no different for you than any other retiree. You’ll first be entitled to one at age 62. That benefit will be less than it would be if you waited to collect it when you reach full Social Security retirement age. However, as a CSRS Offset retiree, at age 62, your CSRS annuity will be automatically reduced by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a CSRS Offset employee. So the decision of when to apply for that benefit is up to you.


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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


  1. I retired CSRS offset decided to apply for social security survivor benefit. I am 63 yrs old and husband died 30 years ago. Will I be subject to govt pension offset:

    • The following quote from the Social Security website will help you to determine if your you are subject to the government pension offset:

      When won’t my Social Security benefits be reduced?

      Generally, we won’t reduce your Social Security benefits as a spouse, widow, or widower if you: • Receive a government pension that’s not based on your earnings; or
      • Are a federal (including Civil Service Offset), state, or local government employee and your government pension is from a job for which you paid Social Security taxes; and:
      —Your last day of employment (that your pension is based on) is before July 1, 2004; or
      —You filed for and were entitled to spouses, widows, or widowers benefits before April 1, 2004 (you may work your last day in Social Security covered employment at any time); or
      —You paid Social Security taxes on your earnings during the last 60 months of government service. (Under certain Government Pension Offset conditions, we require fewer than 60 months for people whose last day of employment falls after June 30, 2004, and before March 2, 2009.)

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