Q: My brother-in-law recently died and his wife, a retired federal worker, applied for survivor benefits at the Social Security Administration. She was advised that since she is receiving a federal retirement she is not eligible to receive any survivor benefits. I searched this site and others and have been unable to find an exact case. This response from the Social Security Administration seems bizarre.
A: She was affected by the government pension offset provision of law. The GPO reduces the Social Security spousal or survivor benefit of anyone who is receiving an annuity from a retirement system where he or she didn’t pay Social Security taxes. The reduction is $2 for every $3 received in his or her annuity. To better understand this provision, go to http://ssa.gov/pubs/10007.html.