The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times readers about retirement and other issues facing the federal workforce. It is answered by Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and a Federal Times columnist since 1995.
Question: I am a retired Civil Service Retirement System employee, having worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 32 years. Currently the USPS desperately needs experienced employees as there are not enough people seeking these jobs.
I would like to go back to work again, but I have been told that I cannot because I am currently drawing CSRS retirement. That makes absolutely no sense to me. Any wages I would be earning would be for employment CURRENTLY, and has nothing to do with PAST employment. This restriction does not apply to Social Security benefits I am drawing from past employment in non-federal positions, so why is there this distinction?
It may be a stretch, but it seems as if I am being discriminated against because I chose to work for the Federal government while also working in a non-governmental position.
Reg’s Response: Unless there is something unique about the Postal Service, most reemployed annuitants have their annuities reduced by the amount of the salary of their new position. Retirement deductions can be taken from their salaries and used to increase their annuities when they once again retire. Depending on the amount of their salaries, their Social Security benefits may be reduced or suspended. Once they retire again, their Social Security benefit will be reinstated and, usually, increased to account for their additional earnings.
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Reg Jones is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.