Expert's View

Reg Jones

Let’s take a look at what would happen to your annuity if you returned to work for the government.

If you are a CSRS retiree who is reemployed, your annuity will stop if you fall into one of four categories:
• you are a disability annuitant whom OPM has found recovered or restored to earning capacity prior to reemployment;
• you are a disability annuitant who was not disabled for your National Guard Technician position but were awarded a disability annuity because you were medically disqualified for continued membership in the National Guard;
• you are an annuitant who was involuntarily separated from your job (unless it was required by law based on age and length of service or for cause) and your new job is permanent in nature, (e.g., career, career-conditional or excepted); or
• you are an annuitant who receives a Presidential appointment subject to retirement deductions.

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If you are a FERS retiree, only the first two categories apply.

When your annuity stops, you’ll have the same status as any other federal employee in an equivalent position with a similar service history. Then when you leave government again, your annuity will be reinstated unless you are entitled to either an immediate or deferred annuity based on the new separation.

If your annuity stops on reemployment, it’s because your career was cut short by a RIF, reorganization or transfer of function. Having retired under lowered age and service requirements, you are considered to be someone who is completing an interrupted career.

On the other hand, if you have met the age and service requirements for an immediate retirement, when you return to work for the government your annuity will continue without a break. However, the salary you receive generally will be reduced by the amount of your annuity. I say generally because some reemployed annuitants can receive both their annuity and a full salary.

These exceptions relate to positions for which there is exceptional difficulty in recruiting or retaining a qualified employee, a direct threat to life or property, or a circumstance that warrants emergency employment. In addition, there are some classes of positions in a few agencies that are exempt from the offset. If you are a retiree who is being considered for reemployment, be sure to ask if one of these exceptions applies to you.

As a reemployed annuitant, you can earn either a supplemental or a re-determined annuity. If you are reemployed on a full-time continuous basis for at least one year, you’ll be entitled to a supplemental annuity, which will be added to your regular annuity. If you work for at least five years, you’ll be eligible for a re-determined annuity, which will replace the one you are currently receiving. To receive either benefit, you’ll have to contribute to the retirement fund, either while you are still working or before you leave.

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