Social Security spousal benefits


Q. I retired under CSRS after 31 years. My gross CSRS annuity is about $3,580 a month. I’ve worked for 15 years in the private sector. I now get about $800 a month from Social Security, and my wife gets about $700/month before deducting for Medicare. Would either of us qualify for spousal benefits from Social Security?

A. Because you are receiving an annuity from CSRS, a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, any Social Security spousal benefit to which you’d be entitled would be affected by the government pension offset. The GPO would reduce that benefit by $2 for every $3 you receive in your CSRS annuity.

While your wife would be entitled to any spousal Social Security benefit based on your work record, she would only receive the larger of the two Social Security benefits, her own or yours.


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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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