CSRS Offset, WEP and GPO

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Q. I am a CSRS Offset employee, having 33 years with the federal government (five years and seven months as CSRS, 28 years as CSRS Offset). Prior to that, I worked and paid into Social Security.

Now including CSRS Offset, I have more than 30 years of paying into Social Security.

If my CSRS annuity is $1,000 monthly and Social Security pays me $1,000 monthly at age 62, can I expect to receive $2,000 monthly with no reductions from the windfall elimination provision and government pension offset?

A. At age 62, if you are retired, or when you retire, if after age 62, your CSRS annuity will be offset (reduced) by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a CSRS Offset employee. The amount you receive will be the same; however, it will come from two different places, OPM and the Social Security Administration. Any Social Security benefit based on other Social Security-covered service will be in addition to that. If you do, indeed, have 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security, you wouldn’t be subject to the windfall elimination provision. Just remember that the key word here is “substantial.”

Substantial earnings aren’t the same as earnings needed to earn a Social Security credit. To see what constitutes substantial earnings, year by year, go to http://ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf. As for the government pension offset, it applies only to a spousal or survivor Social Security benefit. If you have had Social Security deductions taken from your pay for the 60 months before you retire, you wouldn’t be subject to the GPO.

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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.

2 Comments

  1. Michelle Freese on

    I am a CSRS Offset retiree that just sent a reply to you about my widows benefits being stopped.
    Please send me an email reply. Thank you so much!
    Michelle

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