Provision stops wife from receiving husband's Social Security benefits


Q. I am 57 and a retired federal worker. I retired under the Civil Service Retirement System at the GS-13 level. I only worked a total of about three months before my federal service paying into Social Security, so I am not eligible for any Social Security benefits for myself. However, my husband, who is 60, has worked since he was 19, and has been paying into the Social Security system since then. My understanding is that I am not eligible to receive any of his Social Security benefits because my civil service pension is too high. My question: Is this still true if he dies before me and I become a widow? Will I then be able to receive some of his Social Security benefits?

A. No. The government pension offset provision of law would reduce either benefit by $2 for every $3 you receive in your CSRS annuity.


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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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