CSRS widow benefits


Q. My father passed away this June. He was 59 years old had well over 20 years in the FAA; he was not retired and still working as an air traffic controller. He paid in both Social Security and his retirement making him CSRS Offset. My mother does not work and is already collecting widow benefits from Social Security, but we are getting a big run around from OPM saying that it is going to deduct her retirement checks 1) because my father quit in 1984 and then rejoined the FAA in 1988 and has been working for it since, and  2) the reductions will be based on Social Securities offset.

 We’ve spoken with Social Security on multiple occasions and its staff has ensured us that we are entitled to both widow’s benefits and my father’s retirement since he paid into both. What we don’t understand is why OPM says it is going to reduce our payments by an estimated two-thirds. We cannot get a straight answer. We are working with a liaison from the FAA and with agents of our local branch of Social Security and neither can seem to find out why OPM is doing this.
A. OPM  is correct. For confirmation, go to www.opm.gov/retire/pubs/handbook/C070.pdf and scroll down to Section 70A2.1-2, Survivor Annuity to a Spouse – Deceased CSRS Offset Employee.

About Author

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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