Social Security


Q. I am a civilian employee with Defense Department under the CSRS retirement system. I am also retired from the  Army and drawing retirement pay plus I am a disabled Vietnam veteran drawing a disability. My wife and I both draw Social Security (wife is 71 and I am 72). What portion, if any, of mine or my wife’s Social Security be affected?

A. When you retire from your civilian position, your Social Security benefit will be affected by the windfall elimination provision if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. And any spousal Social Security benefit to which you would be entitled will most likely be eliminated because of the government pension offset provision of law. Since you didn’t provide any information about the employment that led to your wife receiving a Social Security benefit, I don’t know how her benefit might be affected.

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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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