Government Pension Offset


Q. I am a 74 year old under the old Civil Service Retirement System. I do not get Social Service benefits due to the offset law. When and if my husband, who is 83, dies, am I entitled to any of his Social Security benefit or a death benefit?

A. Your Social Security survivor benefit would be effected by the Government Pension Offset provision of law. The GPO would reduce that benefit by $2 for every $3 you receive in your CSRS annuity. On the other hand, you would be entitled to any survivor benefit your husband provided for you and the Social Security death benefit, which is $255.



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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


  1. Greg Walters, retired IRS agent on

    None of the Government Pension Offset articles, including the one above, addresses exemptions to the GPO, especially GN 02608.104 Exemption Due to Pension Eligibility Before December 1982 and 1977 Requirements Met. My reading of the “exemption” indicates that the GPO does NOT apply if the spouse: 1) was eligible for or entitled to the government pension before December 1, 1982. It does NOT state that you must be drawing a pension by December, 1982, only that you were eligible or entitles to a government pension. Many CSRS retirees became “eligible” or “entitled” to a deferred pension once they had 5 years of creditable service (vested) in the CSRS pension plan. The second part of the statute states: 2) and at the time of filing the application for spouse’s benefits, he or she met the entitlement requirements that were in effect in January, 1977 (which includes a 1/2 support test). It would be great if one of the experts could write an article on the GN 02608.104 Exemption to the GPO.

    • Public Law 108-203 eliminated the “last day of covered employment exemption” to the GPO. The law now requires that the last 60 months of a person’s government employment before retirement be covered by Social Security and the government pension system in order to avoid the GPO. The change was effective for those filing for Social Security benefits in April 2004 or later. Any prior Social Security beneficiary receiving Social Security spouse’s or surviving spouse’s benefits and who did not have the GPO applied because of the last day rule continues to receive Social Security benefits without the application of the GPO.

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