CSRS disability annuity and GPO/WEP


Q: I began working for the federal government in 1966, and in October 1972 I was no longer able to work and began receiving a CSRS disability annuity. At the time I was married, but that marriage ended in 1990. In 2000 I remarried at age 53. I never applied for Social Security disability. I worked and paid into Social Security for a few years, but because I was disabled, my earnings were extremely low. At my full retirement age of 66 my Social Security benefit would only be $257, and less than that if I applied for my benefit now. My question regards the WEP. Because I began receiving my CSRS annuity in 1972, would WEP apply to me? Also, what about the GPO as a spouse or widow on my current husband’s Social Security? My disability annuity is a pension, I am not receiving earnings based on work for CSRS, but a pension based on my disability. When I did begin receiving my disability annuity in 1972, I recall being told that at age 62 my disability annuity would be recalculated, yet I am now told that my annuity will remain the same, except for COLAs. Was I given the wrong information in 1972 or did the laws change?

A: Because you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security, you will be subject to the windfall elimination provision, which will reduce the amount of your Social Security benefit. And because you are receiving an annuity from a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, any spousal Social Security benefit to which you would be entitled will be subject to the government pension offset provision, which will reduce it $2 for every $3 you receive in your disability annuity. Whoever told you that your disability annuity would be recomputed when you reached age 62 was in error. Only FERS disability annuities are recomputed at age 62.


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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