CSRS and Social Security for spouse’s survivor


Q. I retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs on Nov. 4, 1994, after 38½ years. My husband worked under Social Security for many years. After he passed away April 26, 2010, I was informed that I could not draw on his Social Security, as this would be considered double dipping. I am constantly asked, “Why are you not drawing on Bob’s Social Security?” I will be 75 on Sept. 24. Why can’t I?

A. Because you were covered by CSRS, a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, you were subject to the government pension offset provision of law. The GPO reduces a spousal or survivor Social Security benefit by $2 for every $3 you receive in your CSRS annuity. In most cases, that eliminates the Social Security benefit.


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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