CSRS, Social Security and survivor benefits


Q. I am collecting a pension under CSRS. My wife, who has worked and contributed to Social Security, plans to start collecting her Social Security pension this year at age 62. I have opted for survivor benefits under CSRS.

How will my wife’s Social Security pension change in the event of my death — and, vice versa, will my federal pension change because of her passing?

A. If you died, your wife would be able to receive both her earned Social Security benefit and a CSRS survivor annuity, with no reduction in either.

If she were to die before you, you’d continue to receive your CSRS annuity.

However, any survivor Social Security benefit you were entitled to based on your wife’s work record would be affected by the government pension offset provision. The GPO reduces — and often eliminates — the Social Security survivor benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system where he or she didn’t pay Social Security taxes.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.


  1. My husband was receiving Social Security and passed away, I receive a pension from CSRS what am I entitled to from him.

    This WEP stuff needs to be addressed and not put at the bottom of the bill pile.

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