CSRS and Social Security

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Q. I am a federal employee with 42 years of CSRS service. Will I be afforded the opportunity to receive Social Security benefits when I reach the age of 65?

A. You would only be entitled to a Social Security benefit if you had worked outside the government and earned at least 40 Social Security credits. However, because you worked under CSRS – a retirement system where Social Security taxes weren’t deducted from your wages – you’d be subject to the windfall elimination provision of law. The WEP would reduce that benefit unless you had at least 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.  

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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

17 Comments

  1. I,m retired on CSRS Disability, I,m 68 and wanting to collect SS,,, I have more than 40 quarters… I went on CSRS in 1993….When I apply for SS will I be subject to the special eroll ment penalty under medicare. I,ve had the VA medical insurance this whole time….I understand I will automatically receive part A , but will I be penalized for part B for not signing up at 65….Also, what about WEP AS mentioned I retired from CSRS in 1993 on disability and have work under SS thruout the 70,s 80,s till 1993

    • Yes, you will be penalized for not having enrolled in Medicare Part B during the initial enrollment period, which runs from 3 months before someone turns 65 and ends three moths after that month. As you noted, you are automatically eligible for Medicare Part A at no expense to yourself. As for the windfall elimination provision, your Social Security benefit will be reduced – but not eliminated – if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. The “substantial earnings” criterion is higher than that required to earn a year of Social Security credit. For example, in 2020, you’d only have to earn $5,640 to received 4 Social Security credits; however, for those earnings to be considered substantial, you’d have to earn $25,575 during the year.

  2. I am a retired CSRS employee. I have worked in the private sector and have 30 quarters towards Social Security.If I work and earn the remaining 10 quarters now that I have retired will I be subject to the WEP ?

  3. I am a CSRS employee, I have been for 42 years this coming February 2021. My question is: If my husband passes away before I do, and when I retire, will I be able to draw anything from his retirement?

    • You would be entitled to any survivor annuity based on your husband’s employment history. However, any spousal Social Security benefit to which you’d otherwise be entitled would be subject to the government pension offset provision of law. The GPO would reduce or eliminate than benefit.

  4. I retired on a CSRS disability in 1990 in a GS-11 position. I’m 67 and am finally on medication that helps me work and I started last year at the age of 66 so had little social security credits. I am now working a $9 per hour job on a 3rd shift. I will never qualify or get social security retirement. Can a person stop the deduction for Social Security which is a substantial amount of my pay?

    • No one, regardless of their age or eligibility for a Social Security benefit, can stop having Social Security deductions taken from their pay.

  5. Coleman McDonough on

    I retired in 2015 with 35 years csrs from the USPS, and between my prior Postal work and the past 5 years, I’ve been informed I have over the 40 credits for social security. But is there anything for me to receive without reducing my csrs pension?

    • Yes, you will be able to receive a Social Security benefit without its affecting your CSRS annuity. However, that benefit will be reduced because you are receiving an annuity from CSRS, a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social security taxes. You can find out more about the windfall elimination provision of law and how it would affect your Social Security benefit by going to https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/wep.html.

    • While you would be entitled to a spousal Social Security benefit, because you worked for a retirement system where Social Security taxes weren’t taken from you pay that benefit will will be reduced or eliminated by the government pension offset provision of law. You’ll find a full explanation of the GPO at https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf.

      • The GPO seems grossly unfair. My spouse is higher paid CSRS and never paid in to social security. But I am in Private sector and I did. Why can’t she collect under my work record ( auxiliary benefits)? What is the logic as I am the one who paid into it. If she never worked, and never paid in to Soc. security, she would be able to collect under my work record. Is that logical?
        Are there any serious efforts ( in congress) to change this provision?

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