Spousal benefit


Q: I am a 1998 CSRS/FERS transfer. My wife is retired and collecting a Social Security benefit. Next year when I turn 66 I thought I would take a spousal benefit off of my wife’s Social Security. Is it not true that because I have more than five years in FERS there is no GPO reduction in that spousal benefit? About a year later I plan to retire and start receiving my annuity of CSRS/FERS retirement. Even though I then would be receiving a pension that partially consists of CSRS where no Social Security was paid, wouldn’t there still be no GPO as I had completed more than five years in FERS? I wanted to do this so I could wait until age 70 before collecting my Social Security off of my own earnings, thus reducing the WEP penalty as I would have a total of over 25 years of Social Security earnings.

A: Because you have at least five years of creditable service under FERS, any Social Security spousal benefit you are entitled to won’t be affected by the government pension offset.



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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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