Social Security survivor benefit and the GPO


Q: My wife passed away five years ago at age 54. She had many years of working and adding to Social Security. I am recently retired under the Civil Service Retirement System. I was told that I will not be able to receive any of my wife’s contributions to Social Security. Is that true? If so, will that law ever be changed?

A: Any Social Security survivor benefit you are entitled to based on your late wife’s work record will be impacted by the government pension offset. The GPO will reduce that benefit by $2 for every $3 you receive in your CSRS annuity. While bills have been introduced in Congress to modify or eliminate the GPO, they have never gotten off the ground.


About Author

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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