CSRS and spousal benefits


Q.  On March 26,  I will be 62 years old. I work for the Postal Service and am thinking about retiring ,My question is this: My wife is 67 and drawing her Social Security. If I retire from the Postal Service, will I be allowed to take spouse benefits? Also, how much will the Social Security be cut because I am drawing CSRS? My monthly gross amount from CSRS will be about $2,781 but that’s before health insurance and spouse benefits. I am also able to draw Social Security but I have only the 40 quarters. My wife is drawing $1,398 monthly from Social Security.

A. Because you will be receiving an annuity from a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, you’ll be subject to the government pension offset provision of law. The GPO will reduce your spousal Social Security benefit by $2 for every $3 you receive in your CSRS annuity. As for your own Social Security benefit, it will be affected by the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes and has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.


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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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