Spouse benefit reduced multiplier


Q.  I am a FERS employee and I plan to retire in the near future. As I have a CSRS component, I will be impacted by the Windfall Elimination Provision when I begin to draw Social Security. As my spouse is also a FERS employee, it is possible that my spouse benefit for Social Security may exceed my own benefits. I will turn 62 eight years before my spouse. And we both plan to draw Social Security when we each turn 62, respectively. I understand that I will not be eligible for a spouse Social Security benefit until my wife begins to draw Social Security. I will be 70 years old when she begins to draw Social Security at age 62. I also understand that the calculation of my spouse benefit will be reduced because I began drawing at age 62, which is prior to my full Social Security retirement age of 66. I understand that the spouse benefit multiplier will be 35 percent rather than 50 percent because I began drawing on my own record at age 62. But here is the point that I am unclear on. Will the reduction in the calculation of my spouse benefit be applied to my wife’s full Social Security amount at her full retirement age? Or will the spouse benefit reduced multiplier be applied to the amount that she is drawing at age 62? The Social Security Web Page appears to be unclear as to which number the reduced multiplier will be applied to.

A.  It will be applied to the amount she is drawing at age 62.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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