Maximum earned annuity and Social Security


Q. I am in civil service with 40 years and 9 months, including two years in the military for which I’ve made a deposit. I also have one year and four months of unused sick leave. Do I qualify for the maximum 80 percent annuity? I now have allotments taken out of my pay stubs. When I retire, will they remain the same? I hope so because I don’t want them to change. If I get a full-time job in the private sector, will that affect my annuity? I’m eligible for Social Security. I’ve heard that if you work for only 180 days a year, the government won’t deduct anything from that benefit. Is that true?

A. To receive a maximum earned annuity that equals 80 percent of your“high-3, you’d have to have 41 years and 11 months of actual service. However, since unused sick leave isn’t subject to the maximum limit, you can receive an annuity that is greater than 80 percent.

When you retire, you’ll have to specify which deductions you want taken from your annuity.

Accepting a job in the private sector after you retire won’t have any effect on your annuity. However, because you’ll be receiving an annuity from CSRS, a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, your Social Security benefit will be reduced because of the windfall elimination provision of law. Further, if what you are paid exceeds the annual Social Security limit, your Social Security benefit will be further reduced if it exceeds the annual Social Security earnings limit. In 2017, that limit is $23,625.


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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 Comment

  1. Elaine Lumsden on

    If you are under your Social Security Normal Retirement Age (either 66-67) the earnings limit for 2017 is $16,920, not $23,625.

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