“I have been retired under CSRS for over ten years. My wife, who worked in the private sector, is eligible to apply for full Social Security benefits this year. Will her Social Security income have any affect on my CSRS annuity amount, and a follow-up is, will my CSRS retirement affect her Social Security amount?
The good news first. Your wife’s Social Security benefit will have no affect on your CSRS annuity. Nor will your CSRS retirement benefit have any affect on her Social Security benefit. Now here’s a bit of bad news. Because you are receiving an annuity from CSRS - a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes - any spousal Social Security benefit to which you’d be entitled will be affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision of law. The WEP will significantly reduce the amount of your benefit. For more information about the WEP and how it will affect you, go to www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf.
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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.