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.