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Federal Retirees

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#1 Posted : Monday, September 10, 2018 5:30:08 PM(UTC)

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i am retired from civil service from csrs retirement system. i paid my military deposit back years ago, in order, to what i understand would enable me to preserve my csrs annuity, as well as a ss check. however, ss says i can’t do this and they penalise me 2/3. i am receiving a check from the government for civil service retirement, and would like to receive my ss check since i paid into that system as well.does anyone know of any info on the net that would or could prove my point

thanks for any help
#2 Posted : Tuesday, September 11, 2018 1:35:02 PM(UTC)

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This is the User Guide section of Federal Soup. To get a better answer you would want to post this in the proper sub forum
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#3 Posted : Tuesday, September 11, 2018 2:54:52 PM(UTC)
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You should post this to either the Retirees forum or Employee Benefits. That being said, you are talking about the Windfall Elimination Provision. This is a law. Unless you paid 30 YEARS (not quarters) into SS, you will have half or more of it taken by SS, because you have a pension from a system which didn't take out SS (CSRS). Paying your military deposit has absolutely nothing to do with it. The military deposit only adds to what you get in your CSRS pension.

You can read about the WEP on the the SS website. https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf

Edited by user Tuesday, September 11, 2018 2:55:35 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

#4 Posted : Wednesday, September 19, 2018 11:35:19 PM(UTC)

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Promise, you won't regret paying for the CSRS retirement instead of leaving the years to credit toward social security. (You did the right thing -- if you could afford it.) WHY? CSRS annuity is currently tied to equal the CPI, whereas social security retirement is tied to whatever Congress decides to give you from year to year. Year after year, you will a) appreciate that your retirement is tied to CPI (Consumer Price Index) and b) the annual calculations for how much you get is worth more percentage-wise for CSRS than it would be if you just left it as a social security-only income. Another reason to buy into CSRS? You are eligible to fully retire at a younger age then if you are in the FERS program, without penalties (those percentage penalties add up!)

Additionally, if you have a spouse, and you choose to offer the spouse a full annuity on your account, they will be entitled to 55% of your unreduced annuity (IOW, the WEP doesn't reduce their survivor annuity after you die. NO OTHER retirement survivor annuity benefit for a spouse anywhere is going to match that benefit. If you have a spouse you love and want them to have the best survivor annuity possible, buy all the CSRS years you can afford. (Caution: that spouse annuity cost is pretty expensive if your spouse is significantly younger than you- for obvious reasons.)

Simple answer: Social Security benefit pretty much sucks. ANYTHING you can do to buy yourself out of it for a better program is worth it, IMHO.

Who is least affected by WEP? Those with 30+ "significant years' income". You will receive 90% of your social security benefit if you wait until full retirement to start getting Social Security. You won't get any credit for years that are attributed ONLY to CSRS earnings. You WILL get Social Security credit if you had "significant employment" that meets the minimum earnings for the entire year. Warning: You miss that earnings dollar amount by ONE DOLLAR and you lose Social Security for the entire year. (I know, happened to me). And a bonus: CSRS-offset employees earn toward both retirements for the time they are working as CSRS-offset employees. The CSRS annuity pays in full if you retire prior to 62. At 62, an "offset" reduces the CSRS retirement (proportional to the number of years you were an offset employee), and you are expected to draw a social security retirement, which will be reduced by the WEP amount. In theory, when both reduced annuities are combined, you aren't supposed to lose anything. If you choose NOT to take Social Security at 62, your annuity will still be reduced as if you did take social security - so if you retire early, it's probably a good idea to keep working a social security job to build up your years and reduce the WEP until you reach full retirement age.

Who is most affected by WEP percentage wise? Someone who has CSRS earnings and also has a bit of earnings covered under Social Security withholding. If you have a lot of years of CSRS, don't sweat it. You'll make out better in the end with CSRS and probably don't have enough SS earnings to mater anyway.

Who does WEP really throw a doozy to? Those who have about half their career in CSRS and half in Social Security. You will lose most of your CSRS retirement when you turn 62 and be FORCED to take Social Security at 62 and lost not only the reduced benefit for taking social security early, you'll lose the WEP proportion, too. The worst hit: Those with about 15 years CSRS and 15 years Social Security. You don't have enough CSRS earnings to have a good earnings, and you don't have enough social security to mean something. The only way to minimize this is to either gain 30 years of social security income or increase your CSRS years (buying into CSRS is one way to do that).

Sponsors for bills to Congress to correct this WEP unfairness is getting closer and closer to being passed into something more fair each year. Call your Congressperson and let them know how WEP is affecting you and ask them to fix it.

Disclaimer: I've been told that I give POUNDS of bad advice about apparently everything, thus -- Take anything I say here with a pound of salt and ask someone else instead.
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