Social Security benefit


Q: I have two questions. First, I am retired from the U.S. Postal Service, civil service and my Social Security payment on my husband’s Social Security account is reduced because of the windfall elimination provision. I heard from someone that the reduction in my Social Security benefits cannot be more than half of the amount of my pension. Is that true? My second question, is, is it true that the windfall elimination provision does not apply to survivor benefits?

A: First, your spousal Social Security benefit wasn’t reduced because of the windfall elimination provision; it was reduced because of the government pension offset provision. Second, if you are eligible for a Social Security benefit based on your own work record, that benefit will be reduced by the windfall elimination provision. To learn how much that reduction would be, use the online calculator at Third, the WEP does not apply to Social Security survivor benefits.

— Reg Jones


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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