Social Security benefit

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Q. My husband is a CSRS retiree with 34 years of service, he also has enough credits to qualify for his own Social Security. I am a FERS employee retiring this year with 33 years of service. We are both GS-15 retirees. Obviously, my Social Security is much higher than his. Would it matter if he files for Social Security under himself or under my benefits? Or will the offset be equivalent?

A. If he applies for a Social Security benefit based on his own work history, it will be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP will reduce — but not eliminate — his Social Security because he has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. If he accepts a Social Security spousal benefit based on your employment history, it will be subject to the government pension offset. The GPO will reduce that benefit by $2 for every $2 he receives in his CSRS annuity, which could eliminate that benefit. To learn more about the WEP and the GPO, go to http://ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf and http://ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf.

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