WEP, Social Security and survivor annuity

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Q. I am a retired Postal Service employee under CSRS. I am 66 and have been collecting Social Security since turning 62. My Social Security benefit was reduced by taking benefits at 62 and by the windfall elimination provision. My CSRS annuity was also reduced because I opted for the CSRS survivor benefit. However, I am nine years older than my wife, who is 57 and intends to work until she can begin her early retirement at 62.

1. If my wife and I continue to file our taxes as “Married – jointly” and I suspend my Social Security benefits in the beginning of the year that my wife becomes eligible for Social Security benefits, will her Social Security benefit also be subject to WEP reduction as mine is now?

2. If so, will that still apply to my wife’s CSRS survivor benefit in the event of my death?

A. I can think of no benefit to be gained and much to lose if you suspend your own Social Security benefit. Your being subject to the windfall elimination provision won’t have any effect on her own earned Social Security benefit. She’ll receive that in full. Neither will the WEP have any effect on her survivor annuity if you should die before her. She’ll get the full amount.

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