Social Security eligibility


Q. I am a 51-year-old with 32 years of service under CSRS. I am eligible to retire in 2016 when I reach age 55. I have also worked and paid into Social Security for about the same number of years. Am I eligible to receive both Social Security and my civil service retirement pension?

I would also like to know how a buyout works. If one is offered before I reach age 55, what is the payout, and will I receive my current benefits such as life and health insurance coverage?

A. You would receive both retirement benefits if you have 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. If you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings, your Social Security benefit would be reduced because of the windfall elimination provision. To find out what constitutes substantial earnings in each year, go to As for your annuity, it would be calculated using the standard formula. Your health and life insurance coverage would continue without interruption.


About Author

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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