Social Security


Q. Will I be able to draw Social Security if my husband is retired military and retired CSRS? I have work for more than 30 years paying Social Security tax and have been told I can’t draw. Will my husband be able to draw because he has paid Social Security tax as a self-employed contractor?

A. Nothing can keep you from receiving a full Social Security benefit based on your own work record. However, because your husband is receiving an annuity from a retirement system in which he didn’t pay Social Security taxes, his Social Security benefit will be subject to the windfall elimination provision. If he has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security, his Social Security benefit will be reduced but not eliminated. Any spousal or survivor Social Security benefit to which he may be entitled based on your work record will be subject to the government pension offset, which will reduce that benefit by $2 for every $3 he receives in his CSRS annuity.


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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