Q: My husband’s personnel office just found out that he should have been in CSRS Offset after 21 years of coming from the DC Government and this is his first year in CSRS Offset so we have not seen what happens when he reaches his maximum Social Security tax. After his maximum SS tax was reached, his personnel office stopped the SS deduction but then the same amount was taken out for CSRS Offset contribution. In the past, after the maximum was reached he has received the SS contribution in his paycheck. Was this done correctly?
A: Yes, this was done correctly. An employee who is covered by CSRS (regular or offset) must have 7% deducted from their salary for retirement purposes each pay period. Someone who is under CSRS Offset normally has 0.8% of their salary taken out for CSRS Offset and 6.2% for Social Security. Upon hitting the annual Social Security tax cap ($117,000 for 2014), 6.2% is no longer withheld for Social Security. As 7% must be contributed, the 6/2% is now withheld for CSRS Offset.
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John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a firm that provides pre-retirement training and seminars to a wide variety of federal agencies. FCE’s instructors are all retired federal retirement specialists who educate class participants on the ins and outs of federal retirement and benefits; there is never an attempt to influence participants to invest a certain way, or to purchase any financial products. John and FCE specialize in retirement for special category employees, such as law enforcement officers.