Government pension offset and Social Security


Q. I need to work three more years of about $4,800 each year to qualify for Social Security benefits. Is this something I need to do? Will my annuity reduce if I never apply for Social Security? Is it more, less or closely the same benefit financially to draw Social Security? How can I generally know this mathematically? Also, is there a site and/or calculator that provides additional help with the government pension offset?

A. If you earn 40 credits under Social Security, you’ll be entitled to a Social Security benefit; however, because you are a CSRS employee who will be receiving an annuity from a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, when you retire you’ll be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP will reduce — but not eliminate — that Social Security benefit. You can read more about it at Like the WEP, the GPO applies to the spousal Social Security benefit of anyone receiving an annuity from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes. In most cases, the GPO eliminates that benefit. For more information, go to


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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