Spousal Social Security benefits


Q: My wife died last year. She was a retired educator with more than 30 years of service. She turned 60 in December 2009. She also had been receiving Social Security disability for almost two years before she died. I will be turning 61 in 2010; however I am still working with more than 30 years of federal service under CSRS. I am an outset employee because I left the federal government for two years and have been back since Jan. 6, 2009.

Can I received her Social Security at age 62 and delay drawing mine until I am 65? If so, will it reduce my amount at age 65? I am also a substantial contributor from the military with 37 years of service in the National Guard and will not be subject to offset.

A: If you were age 62 and still working, you would be eligible to receive an unreduced spousal Social Security benefit. On the other hand, if you had retired, that benefit would be reduced by $2 for every $3 you received in your CSRS annuity. Further, because you are covered by CSRS Offset, if you are retired and eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62, your CSRS annuity would be offset by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while covered by CSRS Offset. If you retired after age 62, the reduction would occur on the day you retired. The reduction would occur whether or not you applied for a Social Security benefit.


About Author

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

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