Former spousal benefits


Q. I’m a CSRS employee with 35 years of service. I also have 21 quarters toward Social Security. I’m 66 years old. I was married for 15 years and my ex-wife is retired under Social Security. Am I entitled to a Social Security benefit on my ex-wife’s service?

A. You’ll find a explanation the Social Security Administration’s former spouse requirements and benefits at However, when you retire, that benefit will be subject to the government pension offset provision of law. The GPO will reduce your Social Security spousal benefit by $2 for every $3 you receive in your CSRS annuity.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. I am trying to find out if am entitled to my ex-husband’s Benefits that he gets from the post office we were married for 27 years and I had five children by him I never received one penny we were divorced in Florida he lied to the judge and said that we had no children or no property I never took any money then am now 74 years old I am on security right now

    • Unless a spousal or survivor benefit was included in the court order ending your marriage, and that order was filed with the U’S’ Office of Personnel Management, you wouldn’t be entitled to any benefit. However, because you are alleging fraud, you may want to consult an attorney who can evaluate your situation and determine if there’s any way for you to get a benefit.

  2. Janet Elias Belyew on

    I had no idea xwife could receive any benefits, I have had awful money problems, I just got out of being in a homeless shelter. I was married 8yrs., he was murdered 17 years ago, we were divorced for 10 days. he worked for United Postal Service 20 + years. Please advise me ! Janet Elias Belyew

    • You wouldn’t be entitled to anything unless the court order ending your marriage included a provision that entitled you to a survivor benefit.

  3. I am going through divorce. My husband is a CSRS retired Postal employee who has Survivor Pension in place for me. My attorney is doing a QDRO for a portion of his pension in spousal support and asking for him to maintain Survivor Benefits. If i receive a portion of his pension (spousal support) with a QDRO, will my Social Security benefits be reduced due to Gov Offset? the pension to be received prior to death and survivor benefits is “as equitable distribution”.

  4. Please download these 2 Handbooks from OPM regarding Court Ordered Benefits for Former Spouses that both you and your Attorney need to read. OPM will not accept a QDRO unless it is prepared exactly in accordance with their regulations and then filed correctly with OPM.

    RI 84-1: Court Ordered Benefits for Former Spouses

    RI 38-116: A Handbook for Attorneys on Court-ordered Retirement, Health Benefits and Life Insurance

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