“I retired in 2002 from USPS with almost 37 years of service. My wife retired from GM in 1999 and continued paying into SS for 14 more years and started drawing her SS when she was 62. She passed in 2020 from Alzheimers. Would I be able to apply for a survivors benefit or would my CSRS retirement be too high for me to qualify?

Reg’s Response

Because you worked under a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, any Social Security spousal or survivor benefit will be offset by the Government Pension Offset provision of law. The GPO will reduce that benefit by two-thirds of the amount of your CSRS annuity. So, for example, if your CSRS annuity was $1,200, two-thirds of that or $800, will be used to offset your Social Security spousal or survivor benefit. In some cases, that benefit is entirely eliminated.

Got a question for the Federal Times expert? Send inquiries to: fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service, 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.

In Other News
Load More