Can I File For Spousal Benefits If I'm Receiving A Government Pension?

Sep 30 2016 - 8:15am

I recieve a qov't pension. My SS benefit is reduced by 40%. My wife is ready to file for SS benefits. Her payment will be a lot greater then mine. Can l file for spouses payments when she files therefor increasing my payments.

Hi,

You can apply for spousal benefits when your wife files, but you probably won't be able to receive any additional benefits. This is due to the Government Pension Offset provision (GPO), which reduces or eliminates spousal and widow(er) benefits for most people who receive government pensions (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf).

There are some exceptions to GPO, but unless you meet one of them Social Security will withhold an amount equal to 2/3rds of your government pension from the amount of spousal benefits to which you would otherwise be entitled. If 2/3rds of your government pension is more than the potential spousal benefit, the spousal benefit payable drops to zero.

Best, Jerry