Government pension offset


Q. My husband died on Nov. 8, 2012. I am a retired federal employee. I applied for survivor benefits and received a letter of approval that states I cannot be paid because two-thirds of the amount of my government pension is equal to or larger than my monthly Social Security benefit. Please contact me so if I can appeal this issue.

A. Apparently, you are a former CSRS-covered employee. Because you are receiving an annuity from a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, you are subject to the government pension offset provision. The GPO reduced the amount of that Social Security survivor benefit by two-thirds of the amount of your non-Social Security annuity. Because this is a matter of law, it can’t be appealed.


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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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