Q: I worked for the government for 15 years under CSRS and resigned in 1987. At that time, I took all of my CSRS retirement contributions out. Now, I have been offered a Presidential appointment as an Under Secretary.
Can I be considered as a CSRS re-hire? If so, how will my previous CSRS time affect any retirement benefits to which I would be entitled eight years from now?
A: Whether your time as an Under Secretary lasts eight years, or only four, you will be entitled to a CSRS pension when you leave—assuming that you meet the age and length of service requirements for a CSRS annuity. As you already have 15 years of service, you would be eligible to retire at age 60 with another 5 years of service; or at age 62 with the service you already have.
Because you withdrew your CSRS contributions before March 1, 1991, you do not have to redeposit this money to get credit for retirement, though you could if you wished to do so. If you re-deposit the contributions, interest will be charged and your annuity will be the full amount that you are entitled to based on your length of service.
If you do not make a re-deposit, the time will still count for your eligibility to retire and will be used in your retirement contribution, but your annuity will be actuarially reduced based on your age at retirement and the amount of re-deposit that you owe (withdrawn contributions plus interest).
Ask your Human Resources office to calculate what you owe and what the effect on your CSRS annuity will be, and then you can make the appropriate decision.