Social Security survivor annuity


Q. I am retired under a combination of CSRS (14 years) and FERS (12 years).  My CSRS annuity is $3,000 a month and my Social Security is $600 a month.  If my spouse dies, can I get any part of his $1,600 monthly Social Security?

A. If you are a federal retiree who elected to switch from the Civil Service Retirement System to the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) on or before June 30, 1988 or you if you switched after that date, including during the open season from July 1, 1998, through December 31, 1998, the fact that you had at least five years under FERS will exempt you from the government pension offset and, therefore, make you eligible to receive a Social Security survivor annuity.

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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

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