Windfall elimination provision


Q. I retired under CSRS at age 57, 1½ years ago, with 32 years service. Before I worked for the federal government, I had other jobs that I paid Social Security payments. I am now told that since I retired under CSRS, I can’t collect my Social Security when I reach the correct age. Why can’t I collect that money since it was paid in before I worked for the feds? Also, If I can’t collect Social Security, where does all that money go that I paid in. Shouldn’t I get that back?

Also, if I get a part-time job away from the government, would I have to pay Social Security taxes? If so, why?

A. Because you are receiving an annuity from a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, you’ll be subject to the windfall elimination provision, which will reduce your Social Security benefit. To find out why and by how much, go to


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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