Social Security and government offset


Q: I am a federal retiree receiving an annuity of $1,344 per month. My husband receives Social Security of $1,810 per month. How much Social Security would I receive upon his death based on these figures? I am aware of the government offset provision. I figured I would receive about $905 per month. $1,344 – 2/3rds = about $877. Subtracting $877 from $1,810 leaves about $905. Am I on the right track? Whenever I called Social Security (when you can get someone on the phone) I keep getting conflicting answers.

A: You are on the right track. Because you are receiving an annuity from a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, any spousal or survivor Social Security benefit to which you would be entitled will be reduced by $2 for every $3 you receive in your CSRS annuity. When you do the calculation, make sure that you are using the gross dollar figures for your annuity and your husband’s Social Security benefit, not the net figure after deductions have been taken out for such things as health benefits and taxes.



About Author

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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