Social Security benefits


Q: I retired under FERS after changing from CSRS to FERS. I retired Feb. 29, 1988. Now I am being told by Social Security that I am not eligible to receive Social Security payments on my deceased former husband because I am receiving a retirement from the government. Please tell me how I can tell the Social Security Administration that I am entitled to benefits. They are requesting that I sign a form to return my request for the Social Security benefits.

A: Because you have a CSRS component in your annuity, you are subject to the government pension offset provision of law. The GPO reduces the amount of any spousal or survivor benefit by two-thirds of your CSRS annuity. So, for example, if the CSRS portion of your annuity was $1,200 per month, $800 would be used to offset any Social Security spousal or survivor monthly benefit. The larger your CSRS component, the greater the offset.


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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

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