Government pension offset provision

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Q. I am a FERS retiree. My husband is a CSRS retiree with no Social Security. If I die, will he be able to receive a benefit from my Social Security?

A. Because he worked for a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes, he will be subject to the government pension offset provision of law. That offset will reduce his spousal or survivor Social Security benefit by two-thirds of the amount of his CSRS annuity. So, for example, if his CSRS annuity was $1,200 a month, two-thirds of that (or $800) would be used to offset his Social Security spousal or survivor annuity.

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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

2 Comments

  1. Gene Schwarzmeier on

    Top o’ the morning to you, Reg!

    My wife and I are USPS CSRS retirees. We both worked for the 2010 Census on a PT, temporary basis. I was hired six times but had to decline the sixth one, because it would have decimated my pension, due to a limit as to what I could earn federally.

    I thought there was an effort afoot to eliminate this problem for PT, temporary federal appointments, such as Census employment, where jobs are sporadic and indefinite. I want and expect to work [my wife is NOT going to work for the Census, or elsewhere, this time around, and we always file tax returns jointly] one last time for the Census this time around, after which I’ll be too old. During the last Census, I started in Spring 2009 and ended in Spring 2011. I expect a similar working pattern this time around; i.e., starting Spring 2019 and ending Spring 2021. Will there be an earnings ceiling again for such PT, temporary federal employment? If so, what is the dollar ceiling each calendar year, so that I won’t jeopardize my CSRS retirement? [I’m also a disabled, two-tour Vietnam veteran and long-time VOLUNTEER driver for the Disabled American Veterans National Transportation Network] Please advise ASAP. My phone number is 414-351-4928.

    Thank you.

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