Q. I was in CSRS for nine years (1965-1974) before having a 15-year break in service. When I returned to work for the government (1989), I was placed in CSRS Offset until my retirement in January 2013.
I am receiving Social Security benefits, as well as my reduced CSRS Offset government pension. During one of my calls to Social Security regarding my benefits, I was told that I have paid into Social Security for 29 years and that, if I could get one more years earnings paid into Social Security, that the amount of the CSRS Offset reduction would not apply. My understanding was that I would then be able to collect my full government pension, as well as my Social Security annuity.
In a follow-up call to Social Security, I was told that this reference applied only to my Social Security annuity.
I am trying to determine if it would be beneficial for me to return to work to reach the 30-year requirement. Can you confirm which statement is correct?
A. At age 62, your annuity would be reduced automatically by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a CSRS Offset employee. It wouldn’t make any difference how many years of substantial earnings you had under Social Security. On the other hand, the more years of substantial earnings you have, the smaller the impact of the windfall elimination provision would be. If you had 30 years of such earnings, there wouldn’t be any reduction at all. With 29 years, the reduction would be minor.