Am I Eligible For Spousal Benefits?

Category: 
Jul 31 2020 - 10:12am

My husband age 74 receives $2000 social security and also a pension. I am 74 and I receive $500. social security and an L.A. county government pension. We started receiving social security at age 62. I didn't know about spousal benefits. Am I eligible to spousal benefits since my husband's social security is higher than my social security?

Hi,

Whether or not you could be paid spousal benefits likely depends on the amount of your county pension. If a person receives a pension based on their earnings from a government agency where they didn't pay Social Security taxes, then any spousal or survivor benefits for which they would otherwise qualify would likely be offset by 2/3rds of the amount of their government pension. That's due to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf).

Therefore, if 2/3rds of your county pension is more than the amount of your potential excess spousal benefit, then your spousal benefit rate would be reduced to zero unless you meet an exception to GPO. Your potential unreduced excess spousal rate prior to offset would be calculated by subtracting your primary insurance amount (PIA) from 50% of your husband's PIA. A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing at full retirement age (FRA).

Best, Jerry