Can I Collect Divorced Spousal Benefits And My Teachers Pensions?

May 3 2019 - 7:15pm

I am a teacher who will be collecting calstrs and NVpers retirements. But I am also a divorced spouse (36 years of marriage). Can I also collect my divorced spouse benefit in lieu of my own social security benefits? I have not found anyone who can give me a definite answer.

Hi,

I'm assuming that your Calstrs and NVpers pensions will be based on your earnings which were exempt from Social Security taxes. If that's correct, then any Social Security divorced spousal benefits that you would otherwise qualify for would likely be offset (i.e. reduced) by 2/3rds of the amount of your teacher's pensions. That would be due to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision, by the way.

Therefore, if you're drawing your teacher pensions and they amount to more than 150% of the amount of your divorced spousal benefits, your divorced spousal benefits would be reduced to zero unless you meet one of the exceptions to GPO. For more information on GPO and it's exceptions, refer to the following Social Security publication: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf.

Best, Jerry