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LSA  
#1 Posted : Friday, February 24, 2006 9:58:34 PM(UTC)
LSA

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Joined: 8/29/2004(UTC)
Posts: 996

Is there anyone who is a CSRS-OFFSET retiree (not FERS OR CSRS retiree) and gets 2 Social Security checks($) in the manner stated in the recent post by Ed Zurndorfer the expert on federal employee benefits for this website. See his answer in the Feb 24, 2006 Q & A post entitled "CSRS Offset question" on the Federal Employees Benefits Q & A section which is part of this website??

i.e.

http://community.federalsoup.com/4/OpenTopic?a=tpc&s=4944011921&f=6984011031&m=7451021021&r=4811002021#4811002021

i.e. Zurndorfer's Answer is as follows:

"You are entitled to two Social Security retirement checks. The first check starts when you are retired (assuming you retire from federal service before age 62) based on your years as a CSRS-Offset employee. This check is "offsetting" your CSRS annuity and is not subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision or WEP. The other Social Security check that you will be entitled to (starting as early as when you are age 62 but subject to an penalty unless you delay the start of this monthly check until you are of "full retirement age") is subject to the WEP because you most probably will have fewer than 30 years of "substantial" earnings under Social Security in other (non-federal) employment."

[This message was edited by LSA on February 25, 2006 at 09:56 AM.]
Chubakah  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, March 01, 2006 8:19:58 AM(UTC)
Chubakah

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Joined: 2/19/2006(UTC)
Posts: 14

I am in the CSRS offset hybrid system. I am retired and collecting my full CSRS annuity calculated exactly as it would have been if I was just CSRS. As it was explained to be by SS, I will be getting one check for the full SS amount at 62. I just applied 2 weeks ago. So I havn't been paid yet. My CSRS annuity will be adjusted for the SS Offset amount. Which in my case is 50% of my earned SS benefit calculated at age 62. The way the formula works the more offset service you have the greater the offset. Staying with the feds under this system is not beneficial since it increases the offset amount each year you stay. So although your CSRS annuity will increase, your offset is also increased.

My issue is with how will the timing effect the offset. Although I will turn 62 in April I will not be eligible for SS for the first full month following my birthday. The first SS check then is not due check until the middle of June. My CSRS check is deposited on the first of the month. If they make the offset in April I will not get my SS until the middle of June which is two and one half months later. SS is paid by your Birthday so the later in the month your birthday is then the later you receive your check. I am hoping the application of the offset meshes with the timing of the SS payment. This would mean I should not be offset until June. Otherwise I coulds be out some money depending on how it is implemented. Once the dust clears I will post my actual experience. One thing I know for sure is that you better apply before your 62nd birthday because they will apply the offset regardless. The people at the SS office had never seen this situation before which is troubling to me as I don't like being the guinea pig. Have to hope for the best and hope it works smoothly but I have my concerns at this point.
LSA  
#3 Posted : Friday, March 03, 2006 6:30:08 AM(UTC)
LSA

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Posts: 996

Chubakah,

(1)Thank you so much for posting your first hand knowledge/experience as a CSRS-OFFSET retiree. It seems to me that there are so very few retirees in this system or retirees willing to share their experiences.

(2)Thank you also for confirming that there is only one check ($) sent from Social Security to CSRS-OFFSET retirees and only after age 62 if they apply for it. Many of the so-called "benefits experts" providing advice get it so wrong either from lack of knowledge or not doing the research to find the right answer. I guess the advice they hand out is on a par with what we pay for it!

(3) GOOD LUCK, GOOD HEALTH AND BE HAPPY IN YOUR RETIREMENT and please do post your experiences, as you hint you will, with the remaining steps that you are going through in with the CSRS-OFFSET System.

i.e.
a. How long it takes for OPM to adjust your CSRS calculated annuity by the CSRS-OFFSET and send you your first check ($)?

b. How long it takes for Social Security to send you your first check ($)?

c. If the checks ($s) you get from Social Security and OPM were within your expectations/calculations or if you had to dispute the amounts with either organizations?

d. The knowledge/accuracy of the information given to you by the benefits personnel in OPM and Social Security?
robarkim  
#4 Posted : Sunday, March 05, 2006 10:09:23 PM(UTC)
robarkim

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Joined: 2/21/2005(UTC)
Posts: 3

I retired last year on April 30th as a CSRS-Offset employee. My SS began on May 1st. My 62nd birthday was near the end of March so I received my first SS check for the month of May on the 4th Wednesday in June. It was exactly for the amount that SS said it would be. I had 29 years of "substantial earnings" under SS so had a 5% decrease in what it would have been if I had 30 years under SS. My SS check (1 check per month) is $772 each month and it decreased my CSRS annuity check by $370.95. I thought my SS check would be larger than it is because of having 29 years paid in to SS and I didn't think the offset from my annuity would be that large. However, I still think this is the best of both worlds and am very happy I was a CSRS-Offset employee. Retirement is wonderful. Hope this helps.
LSA  
#5 Posted : Monday, March 06, 2006 6:50:13 AM(UTC)
LSA

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Joined: 8/29/2004(UTC)
Posts: 996

Hi robarkim,

Thank you for sharing the information.

Was your CSRS-OFFSET ($370.95) determined by Method a or Method b as follows:

The offset reduction is the lesser of-

a. the difference between the Social Security monthly benefit amount with and without CSRS Offset service (service after December 31, 1983, covered under the interim CSRS provisions or the CSRS Offset provisions); or

b. the product of the Social Security monthly benefit amount, with Federal earnings, multiplied by a fraction where the numerator is the employee's total CSRS offset service rounded to the nearest whole number of years and the denominator is 40.

(Soc Sec)X(Years under CSRS Offset) divided by 40

-------------------------------------------

If by Method b above as in most cases then

($772) x (N) divided by 40 = $370.95

and thus N = 19.2 years

(1) Did you have 19.2 years of Federal Service under the CSRS-OFFSET System after you came back into the government as a CSRS-OFF employee and at retirement?

(2) Did you have 10 years of employment in the private sector under Social Security? Thus totaling the 29 years of "Substantive Earnings" as you state in your post?

(3) I was under the impression that N above should be a whole number as OPM rounds it off(e.g. 19 years or 20 years or whatever?)

(4) Why did you think you would be getting more than $772 each month from Social Security? Didn't the agency that you retired from provide you with an accurate estimate before you retired??

(5) How long did it take for OPM to send you your first full CSRS-OFFSET retirement check? (As opposed to your first reduced interim check after you first retired.)


Thanks in advance for your answers.

and most of all

GOOD LUCK, GOOD HEALTH AND BE HAPPY IN YOUR RETIREMENT.

My Best
Chubakah  
#6 Posted : Monday, March 06, 2006 10:05:00 PM(UTC)
Chubakah

Rank: Newbie

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Joined: 2/19/2006(UTC)
Posts: 14

Robarkim
When did you actually receive your checks?
Your post says you got your SS check on the 4th Wednesday in June. But when did your CSRS annuity start and what month did they make the offset? It seems like a shortage may result in total benefits at one point due to payment timing differences from the different payouts times. How many years did you have as an offset employee. Did you receive notificaton from OPM on the offset and the method used to calculate?

LSA
For what it is worth I have calculated the offset myself using the prescribed methods. I do have 30 years of substantial SS earnings so I was exempt from the WEP in my case.
Using method "a" resulted in the largest offset amount $796.

Under "b" the offset amount is $630. This is an easy calculation as it is just a factor of the number of years in offset divided by 40. I had 20 years in offset so the factor is 50%. The more years one has in offset will increase the offset. I calculated the breakeven for me and it was about 25 years or 5 more years of offset coverage. At that point both a and b calculations would be equal. After 25 years then it goes the other way and the "a" amount would become the offset snce it would be the lower amount. I think "a" is high since the early years arelow earning years and the later years which are offset are higher benefit earning years since you have paid more into SS at the end of your career.

With regard to agency knowledge abut the offset determination. I found the SS rep was able to calculate my full SS benefit in the office. But that was it. Numbers are just punched into the computer and the amount was calculated. They were unaware of how the WEP workded or how to calculate either "a" or "b". Or even how the offset process was actually applied.

He calculated my benefit at the SS office at $1260. Full SS unreduced by the WEP. They were able to tell me the WEP would not be applied since in my case I had greater than 30 years of substantial SS earnings and I would recive my first check in June based on my Birthday. He initially was going to apply WEP but the computer said n/a due to the 30 years of substantial earnings test which I met. He had no knowledge of the exemption of WEP except for the computer prompt. It appears that SS has not trained all the reps in the nuances of the CSRS Offset. This is troubling since it is a federal retirement system and I feel they should have received some training. They were really unaware that the hybrid system even existed until I showed up on their doorstep. I know more than they knew based on my own personal experience. They do know about FERS and CSRS and about WEP and GPO.

I can't comment on OPM reps but I am hopeful they will send my file to someone with training and experience. I will be watching to see how they notify me about the offset and how they will apply it.
robarkim  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, March 07, 2006 9:29:50 AM(UTC)
robarkim

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Joined: 2/21/2005(UTC)
Posts: 3

Hi LSA and Chubakah,
I worked in an office of about 50 employees and only about 5 of us were CSRS-Offset employees.
The offset amount ($370.95) was determined using method b. No, I wasn't given the method they used to calculate the figures. I received a letter from OPM at the end of August where they talk about reducing the annuity per(PL 98-168) I quote from their letter: "Based on benefit amounts SSA provided to us, the offset amount is $370.95. This amount is the portion of the monthly SS benefits you are eligible to receive as a result of any Fed. service you performed after December 31, 1983 while covered by both FICA and CSRS deductions." Yes, I had 19-1/2 years under the CSRS-OFFSET system and 22 years under the CSRS system. I had about 10 years of other substantial SS from a private business my husband had and I also worked part-time for some attorneys in the evening for several years. (I get tired just remembering all of those years). I also had a year of sick leave. I started earning SS on May 1st and received the first check on June 22nd (4th Wed. of the Mo. because of my birthday). I started earning my CSRS annuity check on May 1st also. I received my first partial retirement check on June 1st and the 1st of every month until October 1st, when the full check arrived. OPM was wonderful and kept me informed throughout. In October I received a 24-page booklet from OPM which explained every penny and where it went. I thought I would be receiving more than $772 in SS per month because I had paid so much in and it was about $50 lower than the estimates received from SS. My agency had calculated the offset amount to be about $320, but I figured all of it was an estimate. I didn't know the actual amount of SS until I applied for it.
Chubakah, I also found the SS rep to be unaware about the offset process and how the figures were calculated. He punch the numbers into the computer and popped some sheets out for me. He gave me some printed papers to read about "substantial earnings" and how the calculations worked for the WEP etc. I also knew more about CSRS-Offset and he told me he was quite impressed. He was very nice, but said I was one of very few he had ever worked on.
Oh well, retirement is wonderful. I sure missed working for a few months, but am over that now. Just got back from Florida last weekend, and leaving for Aruba in 6 weeks.
Bmore  
#8 Posted : Friday, March 17, 2006 2:46:55 PM(UTC)
Bmore

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Posts: 4

I just retired on 29 Sep with a buyout and I'm in the offset. I had 33 years of service and I'm 57 so I still have 5 years for SS. I also came into a substantial windfall from outside interests at my retirement.

I'm confused about the 2 ss checks. I thought you just get 1 at 62 at a reduced rate because of WEP along with a reduced annuity as was explained to me by OPM.

In my situation I paid into SS from 63-71 (hi-school and college). I paid a lot in college as I worked in construction during the summer.

I began my federal career in 71 and left in 80, came back in 81. So I have 24 yrs of paying SS under offset plus 8 yrs when I was in school.

So would they exempt me from WEP.

I've already been told by OPM that my offset will begin at 62 and my financial adviser said I should apply for SS then in order to recoup what I paid in, just as posted above.

I'm not sure if those school years will count as substantial years even though I made a lot in college. Paid 100% of my education and bought a new car.

BTW, Mikulski of MD submitted a new bill to repeal the GOP but a new bill is usually submitted every year and it is never passed.

I'm enjoying my retirement. My annuity is good. Just got back from a cruise and have been to Florida twice and followed the Baltimore Ravens around the country.

Can someone advise me if those early school years count as substantial SS payments?

I had the chance to switch to FERS a few years ago and was advised against it by my personnel office and at the retirement seminar I went to. They said I'd be getting both ss and a annuity.

As the post above says, the longer you stay in offset the more you're whacked, unless you have 30 year of SS payments in.

This board is the greatest and greatly helped in planning my retirement.
LSA  
#9 Posted : Friday, March 17, 2006 9:22:32 PM(UTC)
LSA

Rank: Senior Member

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Joined: 8/29/2004(UTC)
Posts: 996

Bmore,

(1) Check this site for determining quarters of Social Security you are entitled to from your part time school years earnings:

http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/QC.html

(2) You should only get one Social Security check ($s) despite what Ed Zurdorfer says. [He's the so-called "benefits Expert" at this site and has answered questions in two recent posts to him saying that CSRS-OFFSET retirees get 2 Social Security Checks ($s).] CSRS-OFFSET folks getting only ONE RETIREMENT CHECK ($) FROM SOCIAL SECURITY, and only at/after age 62, has been validated by a number of actual CSRS-OFFSET retirees in recent posts despite what Ed Zurndorfer says!

(3) You would be exempt from the WEP if you have 30 years of substantial Social Security Earnings under CSRS-OFFSET and the private sector in total.

You state:

"So I have 24 yrs of paying SS under offset plus 8 yrs when I was in school."

You do not provide enough information to determine if the 8 years of Social Security earnings (school years/partime I assume) will bring you up to or beyond the 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security requirement.

See this website for determining the Years of your Substantial Earnings for use in the WEP calculation

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10045.html

Please note:

There appears to be an error at the Social Security Webpage link above. This error is in the second paragraph of the following text in quotes.

i.e.

" When your benefits may be affected
The windfall elimination provision primarily affects people who earned a pension from working for a government agency and also worked at other jobs where they paid Social Security taxes long enough to qualify for retirement or disability benefits. It also may affect you if you earned a pension in any job where you did not pay Social Security taxes, such as in a foreign country.

For example, this provision affects Social Security benefits when any part of a person’s federal service after 1956 is covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). However, federal service where Social Security taxes are withheld (Federal Employees’ Retirement System or CSRS Offset) will not reduce your Social Security benefit amounts.

Your Social Security will be reduced if:

You reached 62 after 1985; or
You became disabled after 1985; or
You first became eligible for a monthly pension based on work where you did not pay Social Security taxes after 1985, even if you are still working."

CSRS-OFFSET RETIREMENT FOLKS ARE SUBJECT TO THE WEP DESPITE WHAT THE ABOVE SAYS.

(4) Methodology for determing the total CSRS-OFFSET Benefit:

Federal Retirement under CSRS-OFFSET:

NOTE:

A. If you are age 62 or older you may follow steps 1 thru 10 below.

B. If you are greater than 55 but less than 62 years of age (and you are under the CSRS-OFFSET system) you are eligible for full retirement and you are only entitled to a retirement which is calculated by the normal CSRS calculation. When you reach 62 years of age steps 5 thru 10 below are followed by OPM automatically (without you knowing of it!). Also if you want your Social Security Benefit you have to apply for it from the Social Security Administration.


PROCESS:

1. You apply to Social Security for your Social Security Benefit (best if done 3 months prior to when you actually retire.)

2. YOU RETIRE from Federal Service in your agency.

3. Your federal agency processes your retirement form & personnel folder.

4. Your Agency sends your personnel folder to OPM for the official validation (this is not done by your agency) of your entitlement to and the amount of your CSRS-OFFSET annuity.

5. OPM requests of Social Security the following:

a. Your Social Security Benefit ($) entitlement for all work you paid Social Security Taxes on(government service private sector) with the WEP and the number of years below your full retirement age deducted.

and

b. Your Social Security Benefit ($) entitlement for only work in the private sector you paid Social Security Taxes on with the WEP and the number of years below your full retirement age deducted. [IF you have less than the normally required 10 years (40 quarters) of social security credits (which does not normally qualify you for a Social Security Benefit) the Social Security Administration still does its regular calculation benefit for you. In other words they disregard the fact that you have less than 10 years under Social Security in the private sector. Also note that if you attempt to do the calculation at the Social Security site by yourself (with their calculators) for less than 10 years under Social Security you will get a not qualified with no benefit due you. However as stated before at the request of OPM, for CSRS-OFFSET retirees, the Social Security Administration does a special calculation disregarding the fact that you have less than 10 years and adding zeros for the remainder of the 35 years which is used in the AIME Social Security Calculation.) They subsequently calculate your PIA and finally your benefit for fewer than 10 years. The step 5b calculation is only used by OPM subsequently for your CSRS-OFFET. This calculation has no bearing whatsoever on your Social Security Benefit check ($) which is only determined by step 5a above.]

6. Social Security sends the calculations in step 5a and 5b to OPM.

7. Social Security begins sending you one check($) for the results of their calculation in step 5a above only if you applied for it from Social Security.

8. OPM then calculates your CSRS-OFFSET:

The offset reduction is the lesser of-

a. the difference between the Social Security monthly benefit amount with and without CSRS Offset service (service after December 31, 1983, covered under the interim CSRS provisions or the CSRS Offset provisions); or

b. the product of the Social Security monthly benefit amount, with Federal earnings, multiplied by a fraction where the numerator is the employee's total CSRS offset service rounded to the nearest whole number of years and the denominator is 40.

(Soc Sec)X(Years under CSRS Offset) divided by 40

9. OPM reduces your CSRS calculated annuity by the results of step 8 above and the result is
your CSRS-OFFSET annuity calculation which is sent to you via check($)

10. The conclusion of all this is the you get two checks($) which are sent to you as your retirement entitlements:

a. your OPM CSRS-OFFSET check($)sent by OPM
b. your Social Security check($)sent by Social Sec

[This message was edited by LSA on March 18, 2006 at 09:03 AM.]

[This message was edited by LSA on March 18, 2006 at 09:20 AM.]
Bmore  
#10 Posted : Saturday, March 18, 2006 7:40:50 AM(UTC)
Bmore

Rank: Newbie

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Joined: 3/17/2006(UTC)
Posts: 4

LSA SAID: The conclusion of all this is the you get two checks($) which are sent to you as your retirement entitlements:

a. your OPM CSRS-OFFSET check($)sent by OPM
b. your Social Security check($)sent by Social Sec
_________________________________________________

Thank you so much. That's the way OPM explained it to me. The SS check will be reduced and my guess for me is by about 50% and applied to my annuity unless I'm exempt from 30 yrs of substantial SS payments. I paid into SS from 63-70 during school but I worked full time in construction from 70-71 and paid a lot into SS plus 24 yrs in offset.

It's just a good thing I have those outside interests.

One more thing, is sure pays to be debt free at retirement. Make sure your cars and cards are paid off or you'll never make it. I was debt free when I entered retirement.
Bmore  
#11 Posted : Sunday, March 19, 2006 12:09:52 PM(UTC)
Bmore

Rank: Newbie

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Joined: 3/17/2006(UTC)
Posts: 4

I just found this WEP reduction chart on SS's home page. Even if they don't give me the shcool yrs of SS payments I still paid 23 yrs into the system in OFFSET. According to the chart, scroll over to 23 yrs at the top and down to 2005 when I retired and I only lose $219 plus change. That's about what personnel told me 10 yrs ago. I assume that much would be deducted from my annuity as well. Someone can correct me on this but it's the best I can figure.

So if my SS check is $1,000, it will be reduced by $219. If my annuity is $3,000 pr mo it will be reduced by $219. Again, correct me here. Thanks in advance.

See link.

http://www.ssa.gov/mystatement/
LSA  
#12 Posted : Sunday, March 19, 2006 7:12:46 PM(UTC)
LSA

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 8/29/2004(UTC)
Posts: 996

Bmore,

That chart for determining the WEP (which you reference) to be deducted from your Social Security Benefit is the right one to use. However please note that it is the maximum possible WEP deduction for you (in other words your actual WEP deduction will in all likelihood be smaller or as a maximum what you see on that chart.)

The actual WEP for you can be determined by the bottom table at the Social Security webpage below:

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10045.html

You should use similiar worksheets to the one found at the following Social Security webpage if you want to get a good understanding (and exact amount) of what your actual Social Security Benefit and WEP will be:

http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/supplement/2005/apnd.html

If you don't want to go through the hand calculation above then you can use the WEP calculator version to determine your Social Security Benefit at the following Social Security webpage:

http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/anyPiaWepjs04.htm

You can then compare what you see from the yearly statement that Social Security sends to you (and everyone near their birthday) with what the WEP calculator is telling you your total Social Security Benefit should be to see how much is being deducted for the WEP. This is so because the Social Security Benefits statement sent yearly does not include the WEP since the Social Security Administration has no way to know how long you have actually worked as a CSRS-OFFSET Federal Worker prior to you actually retiring. Social Security does do the WEP calculation for you after you apply for the Social Security Benefit and also finds out how long you have worked for the federal government when OPM requests the Social Security Benefit due you for the CSRS-OFFSET calculation.

I hope the above helps and good luck with all of this.Let us know how you make out with the Social Security Administration and OPM (i.e. anticipated amounts versus actuals and how long you had to wait to get the checks [$s])

LS***
Chubakah  
#13 Posted : Tuesday, March 21, 2006 9:43:36 PM(UTC)
Chubakah

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 2/19/2006(UTC)
Posts: 14

BMORE
WEP does not apply to you.
You will be exempt from the WEP due to your 30 years of Substantial earnings. You will be entitled to your full social security benefit calculated at your 62 birthday They will include your employment while a college student to calculate your SS benefit.
However your CSRS annuity will be decreased due to your dual coverage with SS. The calculation in your case will be about 60% of your SS benefit. If your SS is $1200 the reduction to the CSRS annuity will be about $720. ($1200 SS check times 60% ( your 24 years in offset divided by 40)). If you had only 20 years in CSRS the reduction would be 50% ( 20 years in offset divided by 40) or $600. As you can see the more years in CSRS Offset the more the CSRS annuity is reduced.
You will get a check from SS for the $1200 SS. your second check from OPM will be reduced by the $720> If your annuity is $3000 it will be decreased by the offset amount and will become $2280.
mapl213  
#14 Posted : Thursday, March 23, 2006 11:46:47 AM(UTC)
mapl213

Rank: Newbie

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Joined: 11/18/2002(UTC)
Posts: 13

Bmore:

"I began my federal career in 71 and left in 80, came back in 81. So I have 24 yrs of paying SS under offset plus 8 yrs when I was in school."

I guess I'm missing something. Why would you be paying into SS from 1981 on when the FERS and CSRS-offset didn't start until after 1983. You left and came back but CSRS was still in effect. Did you leave and return at some later time after 1983??
Bmore  
#15 Posted : Friday, March 24, 2006 12:59:06 PM(UTC)
Bmore

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Joined: 3/17/2006(UTC)
Posts: 4

LSA - Thanks so much.

MAP - I left in 80, came back in 81 and was temporary for 2 yrs. When I got perm status, the 2 yrs of temp service was added on. I paid SS as a temp.

CHUB - Thanks for that explanation.
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