Can I Collect Under My Wife's Work Record?

May 11 2020 - 3:10pm

I just retired at 62 having worked for the Postal Service under the Civil Service Retirement System. I have 39 Quarters under Social Security and I am working part time to secure my final and needed Quarter. I realize my SSA benefit will be reduced by the Windfall provision and also government offset. I can collect 500 a month under my work record now which will be reduced to about 250 I will be held harmless later when I take Medicare part B. My question can I collect under my wife's work record or is that where the government offset come is and since my pension is higher than her SSA benefit I would not get anything from her record. By the way she is 60 and still working. Thanks for your time

Hi,

Just to clarify, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) only affects Social Security retirement and disability benefits paid based on a person's own Social Security earnings history. The Government Pension Offset (GPO), on the other hand, only affects auxiliary or spousal benefits payable on another person's record, such as spousal or survivor benefits. GPO offsets spousal and survivor benefits by 2/3rds of the amount of a person's non-covered government pension.

You couldn't file for spousal benefits until your wife starts drawing her benefits, and if you're already drawing your CSRS pension at that time it sounds like your spousal rate would be almost certainly be reduced to zero.

Your own Social Security benefit rate will likely be reduced due to WEP assuming that you're already drawing your CSRS pension, but neither WEP nor GPO kick in until you actually start collecting your non-Social Security covered pension. WEP never reduces a person's own Social Security benefit rate to zero, though, so as long as you have at least 40 quarters of Social Security covered earnings you'll be able to draw at least some Social Security retirement benefits.

Our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) is fully programmed to handle computations involving both WEP and GPO, so you may want to strongly consider using it to do your Social Security planning.

Best, Jerry