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Federal Employees Benefits Q &A

Do you have questions about your federal employee CSRS or FERS pension/annuity or federal employee retirement planning? Concerns about your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account or what about federal employee pay and leave issues?

Ask your question here.

The Q&A forum is moderated by Ed Zurndorfer -- an expert on federal employee benefits -- and a Certified Financial Planner, chartered life underwriter and chartered financial consultant in Maryland.

Zurndorfer is also the author of several federal employee benefits guides published by Federal Employees News Digest.

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#1 Posted : Wednesday, May 18, 2011 10:34:10 PM(UTC)

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 8/24/2010(UTC)
Posts: 4

Mr. Z, my wife (DOB 9/12/1957) joined federal service as a GS-5 in 8/1976 and voluntarily separated as a GS-9 in 5/1992 while still in CSRS.  She withdrew her CSRS contributions ($21,800) at that time.  After child rearing and private sector part-time employment, she is now interested in trying to rejoin federal service.  She currently has 17 years of creditable Social Security but with just a small projected monthly SS annuity of about $650 (at age 62).  Am I correct in understanding that she would be placed in the CSRS Offset system and that she can buy back her prior 16 years of CSRS service?  If so, would it advantageous for her to do so?  And, must any buy back decision be made at the time of reinstatement, or can it be made at a later date?
Ed Zurndorfer  
#2 Posted : Monday, May 23, 2011 3:20:08 AM(UTC)
Ed Zurndorfer

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 9/10/2001(UTC)
Posts: 4,412

Since your wife left federal service in May 1992 after approximately 16 years of CSRS-covered service and withdrew her CSRS contributions, she would most likely be given the choice of entering CSRS Offset or FERS. While she may be given some time to decide which retirement system she wants to join, she should make her decision as soon as possible, especially if she wants to be covered by FERS in which she will receive TSP matching while if she is covered by CSRS Offset, she will not receive TSP matching from her agency. If she decides to be covered by CSRS Offset, then she can and should redeposit her withdrawn CSRS contributions (including interest) in order to get credit in the computation of her CSRS annuity.  Making a full redeposit for 16 years of service will add approximately 28 percent of her high-three average salary to her CSRS annuity. 

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