Q. My mother retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 1997 or 1998. She came in under CSRS and later FERS; however, I guess she did not pay into Social Security at the time, unknowingly. But she worked for years with the state prior to that and was not given credit for it. She receives the bare minimum from Supplemental Security Income. Is there anything that I can do to help her? She has worked more than 50 years to only receive $250 per month.
A. It appears that you mother’s only period of Social Security-covered employment was as a FERS employee. Because some of her retirement benefits were from retirement systems where she didn’t pay Social Security taxes, such as CSRS, she was subject to the government pension offset provision of law. To learn how and why the GPO reduced her Social Security benefit, go to https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf.