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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.

Your question will be put into a message queue and submitted for review. We cannot guarantee that all questions will be answered, however any answered questions will appear below, and some will also be featured in our daily Federal Daily e-newsletter (Subscribe here). Federal Soup users should not submit replies to the questions posted, as we leave the replies for the moderator only. Any replies to questions other than the moderator will be deleted.

Please do not submit employee benefits questions to the webmaster or the forum moderator.

Note: FederalSoup.com has attempted to compile information that is as accurate and current as possible for federal employees. Federal policies, laws, regulations, statistics and addresses continually change. Therefore, no warranties are made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this column. If additional clarification or information is needed, it is suggested that competent and professional assistance be sought. Mr. Zurndorfer does not moderate other forums on FederalSoup and will not reply to general FederalSoup inquiries submitted in this Q&A forum.

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gscott  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, February 15, 2017 3:16:12 PM(UTC)
gscott

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Hi Ed,
Thank you for putting on a great seminar in NC this week! Very helpful.

I searched previous posts here and couldn't find an answer to my situation.

I plan to retire at the end of 2018 as a CSRS offset employee and hope to receive around $24,000 for unused annual leave in early 2019. At that time I will have 20 years of CSRS offset service plus 9 years of non-federal service where I paid into SSA and met the substantial earnings thresholds.

Would the $24,000 and salary for the last two pay periods of 2018 all be counted as substantial earnings for 2019 such that I will have 30 years total paying into SSA and avoid any WEP penalty?

Greg.
Ed Zurndorfer  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, February 15, 2017 6:05:46 PM(UTC)

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Great question and the answer is yes. Since your last two paychecks and your lump sum payment for unused annual leave will be dated in early 2019 (and you will receive a 2019 W2 showing the wages paid from the two paychecks and the lump sum payment for unused annual leave in which FICA taxes will be deducted), the year 2019 can be counted as a "substantial year" as far as Social Security wages are concerned.
gscott  
#3 Posted : Thursday, February 16, 2017 3:46:52 AM(UTC)
gscott

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That is good to hear. An answer here from 5 years ago seems to say that the annual leave lump sum payment for Offset employees isn't considered substantial earnings, but maybe that was only in the context of calculating the AIME and not for WEP purposes - https://forum.federalsou...s&t=40064#post436181
Ed Zurndorfer  
#4 Posted : Thursday, February 16, 2017 11:55:19 AM(UTC)

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Was thanked: 99 time(s) in 89 post(s)
Glad to be of service to you.
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