Spouse's Social Security


Q. I work for the federal government and am under the CSRS retirement plan.  I took a federal employee retirement seminar a year ago and was told that as long as I was working I could collect on my husband’s Social Security if he passed away.  Since I don’t pay into Social Security and don’t have 40 quarters I am not eligible for it myself. Everything I have read mentions examples of people who are retired and collecting a pension (which I am not).

I was told by Social Security that I had to be 66 to collect and that I could not collect now because I was making more than $14,000 a year.

Is Social Security right that even though I am still working and not collecting a pension and that I make more than $14,000 a year I cannot collect on my deceased husband’s Social Security?  I will be 62 on April 28.

A. The person you talked to at the Social Security Administration was correct. The earnings limit applies both to an earned Social Security benefit and a survivor benefit. If you are under full retirement age, that reduction is $1 for every $2 you earn about the annual limit. For calendar year 2012 that limit is $14, 640.


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.

Leave A Reply