Social Security for spouse


Q. My dad, who paid Social Security all his life, died at age 70 and my mom subsequently retired from the postal service and has a CSRS pension. Shouldn’t my mom be able to get spousal benefits from Social Security?

A. Because she retired under CSRS, she is subject to the government pension offset provision of law. The GPO reduces the Social Security benefit of any retiree who worked for a retirement system, like CSRS, where he or she didn’t pay Social Security taxes. Your mother’s Social Security spousal benefit is being reduced by $2 for every $3 she receives in the CSRS annuity. As a result, she may not be entitled to anything.


About Author

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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