Social Security and survivor annuity


Q. I’m retired from the federal government under CSRS, receiving my retirement, but my husband passed away and Social Security tells me I cannot receive his benefits. He put into Social Security for 40 years, yet I’m not entitled to his benefits? Please advise me if I can collect.

A. Because you are receiving an annuity from CSRS, a retirement system in which you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, your spousal Social Security survivor benefit is subject to the government pension offset provision of law. The GPO reduces that benefit by $2 for every $3 you receive in your CSRS annuity. In many cases, it eliminates the benefit.


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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