Ask Larry

Can I Collect A Spousal Or Survivor Benefit?

Calif school teacher. Retired Strs pension term limit is 3/31/23 can I collect spousal ss survivors benefit?

Hi. I don't know what you mean by a term limit, but if you receive a government pension (or lump sum payment in lieu of a pension) that's based on your earnings that were exempt from Social Security taxes, then any Social Security spousal or survivor benefits for which you qualify would likely be offset by 2/3rds of the amount of your non-Social Security covered government pension. That's due to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision (

Therefore, assuming that you do receive a non-covered government pension, then you'd probably only be able to collect Social Security spousal or survivor benefits if the amount of those benefits is more than 2/3rds of the amount of your non-covered government pension.

Best, Jerry

Jun 7 2022 - 11:24am
MaxiFi software running on a laptop
Get What's Yours!
Discover tens of thousands in extra retirement dollars with Maximize My Social Security software!
  • Find your maximized strategy
  • Unlimited what-ifs
  • Step-by-Step filing instructions
  • Our software's lifetime-benefit increase for an illustrative couple earning $65K each and planning to take retirement benefits at 62.

    Results will differ based on your specific case and filing strategy.

Getting Started is Easy
Web-based software. Works on ALL browsers. No download.