Can I Get Social Security Benefits If I Am A Civil Service Employee?

Feb 10 2017 - 7:15am

I am a civil service employee still working I have 24 soc sec credits when I retire will I be able to get anything from soc sec? also my husband is now getting soc sec disability being a civil service employee will I be able to draw any of his soc sec if he were to die?

Hi,

You would need at least 40 Social Security quarters of coverage to be eligible for benefits on your own record. And, if you receive a civil service pension based on work that was exempt from Social Security taxes, your benefit rate would likely be lower due to the Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf).

You don't mention your age, but you may be able to draw spousal benefits on your husband's record if you are at least age 62. Your benefits would be subject to the Social Security earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html) until you reach full retirement age, though.

However, assuming that your civil service earnings are exempt from Social Security taxes, once you start drawing your civil service pension your spousal benefits would be offset by 2/3rds of the amount of your civil service pension. This is due to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf). The GPO offset applies to widow's benefits as well as spousal benefits, so you may not be able to receive widow's benefits in the event of your husband's death.

You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to explore all of your options.

Best, Jerry