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My pension and spouseís Social Security benefits
Old 09-21-2020, 01:59 AM   #1
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My pension and spouseís Social Security benefits

I have a governmental pension and my wife receives Social Security retirement benefits under her own record. (I didnít qualify for Social Security under my own record.)

She has survivorship rights under my pension. That means that when I die she will receive the pension benefits under that provision.

My question is: if I should die and she receives MY pension benefits as my survivor, will that in any way reduce or adversely impact the Social Security benefits she is receiveing under her own record?
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Old 09-21-2020, 05:45 AM   #2
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No, it shouldn't. If your selected spousal survival benefit under your pension is 100%, then her income should not change from your current joint income. Her tax bracket may change though. As she would be filing as single rather than joint.
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:33 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by PERSonalTime View Post
I have a governmental pension and my wife receives Social Security retirement benefits under her own record. (I didnít qualify for Social Security under my own record.)

She has survivorship rights under my pension. That means that when I die she will receive the pension benefits under that provision.

My question is: if I should die and she receives MY pension benefits as my survivor, will that in any way reduce or adversely impact the Social Security benefits she is receiveing under her own record?
She is not subject to government pension offset. (GPO). You are. So no, no affect on her whatsoever.
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Old 09-21-2020, 11:47 AM   #4
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DH and I are in the same situation. When I started my SS benefit, based on my own record, I asked the same question.

The answers above are correct. The GPO only applies to the pension recipient who earned it.
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Old 09-21-2020, 06:43 PM   #5
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DH and I are in the same situation. When I started my SS benefit, based on my own record, I asked the same question.

The answers above are correct. The GPO only applies to the pension recipient who earned it.


Thatís what I thought, but I wanted to see if anyone else had the same situation. Thanks so much for your response!
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Old 09-21-2020, 06:59 PM   #6
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I had to go into the office to prove my identity. While I had my individual time with a Social Security representative I thought I'd ask as many questions as I could!
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:07 PM   #7
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Caveat: I am not a SS expert and this is not legal advice

It is also possible that I have misunderstood OP’s fact pattern

I did research this issue this morning, but decided not to post. The answer I came up with 12 hours ago differs from many of the views expressed above, however. So I will weigh in with the following —

1. I think GPO applies to survivor benefits as that term is used in SS, not pensions. So I don’t think GPO applies here, as the spouse is claiming on her own record

2. I think WEP potentially does apply, however, with the wrinkle here being that the benefits under the pension pass via survivorship as opposed to directly. WEP also depends on various fact-based scenarios that could be in play here. I found authority for the proposition that the WEP rules do not survive death, however. So I ended up in a state of uncertainty.as to the answer to OP’s question

Anyway, what I had convinced myself of this morning is that OP needed to contact the SSA or consult an expert
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Old 09-21-2020, 09:18 PM   #8
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Caveat: I am not a SS expert and this is not legal advice

It is also possible that I have misunderstood OPís fact pattern

I did research this issue this morning, but decided not to post. The answer I came up with 12 hours ago differs from many of the views expressed above, however. So I will weigh in with the following ó

1. I think GPO applies to survivor benefits as that term is used in SS, not pensions. So I donít think GPO applies here, as the spouse is claiming on her own record

2. I think WEP potentially does apply, however, with the wrinkle here being that the benefits under the pension pass via survivorship as opposed to directly. WEP also depends on various fact-based scenarios that could be in play here. I found authority for the proposition that the WEP rules do not survive death, however. So I ended up in a state of uncertainty.as to the answer to OPís question

Anyway, what I had convinced myself of this morning is that OP needed to contact the SSA or consult an expert


As you indicated, WEP does not apply to survivor benefits. Therefore, my DW would not be impacted by that provision. Thanks for the research.
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Old 09-22-2020, 12:58 AM   #9
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As you indicated, WEP does not apply to survivor benefits. Therefore, my DW would not be impacted by that provision. Thanks for the research.
For the record, that isn’t what I concluded. I concluded instead that the answer was unclear and suggested you contact SSA and/or seek professional advice.

Good luck.
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Old 09-22-2020, 06:48 AM   #10
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For the record, that isn’t what I concluded. I concluded instead that the answer was unclear and suggested you contact SSA and/or seek professional advice.

Good luck.
WEP does not apply at all if you have 30 years or more of earned income where you paid in social security, nor does it apply to survivor benefits.

Social Security years of substantial earnings
If you have 30 or more years of substantial earnings,
we don’t reduce the standard 90 percent factor in our formula. See the first table that lists substantial earnings for each year.

The Windfall Elimination Provision doesn’t apply to survivors benefits. We may reduce spouses, widows, or widowers benefits because of another law. For more information, read Government Pension Offset (Publication No. 05-10007

https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirem...anner/wep.html
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Old 09-22-2020, 09:07 AM   #11
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I am in the same situation as the OP. When I retired 11 years ago I was told that DH would be able to receive my pension and his SS with no reduction to his SS should I predecease him. Based on this I took the pension option that would leave him with 50% of my pension. His SS plus half of my pension would leave him with an adequate income. If he lost his SS and only had half of my pension to live on...it would be a very tight budget. My pension is reduced so that he will receive half. For him to receive full would have been an even greater reduction.

Following this thread in case anyone finds definitive information that my understanding is incorrect.
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My pension and spouseís Social Security benefits
Old 09-23-2020, 01:46 AM   #12
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My pension and spouseís Social Security benefits

Rothlev and FIYes thanks for the confirming responses!
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Old 09-23-2020, 06:13 PM   #13
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Rothlev and FIYes thanks for the confirming responses!
my husband is retired civil service his civil service career did not pay into social security thus ( his social security is impacted by the WEP and GPO ), however my social security and my benefit as a survivor on his civil service pension are not impacted by either WEP or GPO. ( I will receive both survivor benefits on his account and my full social security benefit should he predecease me )

Should I go first he will not be eligible to receive social security benefits using survivor benefits. ( collecting my higher social security ) as the (GPO) kicks in. he will get a 10% raise on his pension as he won't have to cover me anymore !
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Old 09-25-2020, 10:03 PM   #14
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my husband is retired civil service his civil service career did not pay into social security thus ( his social security is impacted by the WEP and GPO ), however my social security and my benefit as a survivor on his civil service pension are not impacted by either WEP or GPO. ( I will receive both survivor benefits on his account and my full social security benefit should he predecease me )

Should I go first he will not be eligible to receive social security benefits using survivor benefits. ( collecting my higher social security ) as the (GPO) kicks in. he will get a 10% raise on his pension as he won't have to cover me anymore !


Do you mean he will get a 10% raise because he will get to keep your share of his pension? If so, thatís quite an interesting proposition. LOL Iím sure he hopes he will never have to collect on the raise in that fashion.
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Old 09-26-2020, 04:29 AM   #15
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Do you mean he will get a 10% raise because he will get to keep your share of his pension? If so, thatís quite an interesting proposition. LOL Iím sure he hopes he will never have to collect on the raise in that fashion.
Correct -- when you cover a survivor on a civil service pension you take a reduction in benefits in order to do so. However when that spouse passes you no longer take that reduction, and get a raise !
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