Social Security offset


Q. Several weeks ago, I sent a request for information regarding the offset, if any, when I retire from civil service.  I served in the Army National Guard from June 1956 through February 1959. I was drafted into the Army on March 4, 1959, until Feb. 28, 1961. I then enlisted in the Army in March 1961 and retired April 30, 1979. I entered into employment by the federal government Sept. 12, 1980. My wife and I both draw Social Security benefits. I will be retiring Dec. 31, 2011, and need to know what offset I or my wife will experience. Will I be affected by government pension offset or windfall elimination provision?

A. When you retire from your civilian position, your Social Security benefit will be affected by WEP if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. And any spousal Social Security benefit to which you would be entitled will most likely be eliminated because of the government pension offset provision of law. Since you didn’t provide any information about the employment that led your wife to receive a Social Security benefit, I don’t know how her benefit might be affected.


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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

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