CSRS Offset / WEP


Q. I read some of your responses to questions regarding this subject and I’m still confused.  So, here are my questions:
I retired from the federal government with 36 years of service under the Civil Service Retirement System. My wife is qualified for Social Security when she reaches the appropriate age. Will she be able to draw her full Social Security benefits? Also, if I am qualified for Social Security, 40+ quarters paid in, will I be able to draw some minimum amount? Please explain your answers or provide a reference so I can look up the particulars.

A. The fact that you are retired from a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes will have no effect on your wife’s entitlement to a Social Security benefit based on her own work history. You on the other hand will have any Social Security benefit to which you are entitled reduced but not eliminated by the windfall elimination provision if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. Further, any spousal Social Security benefit to which you would be entitled based on your wife’s work history will be affected by the government pension offset provision of law, which will in all likelihood, eliminate that benefit. For more information about the WEP, go to www.ssa.gov/pubs/10045.html. For the GPO, go to www.ssa.gov/pubs/10007.html.


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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