Ask Larry

Can My Wife's Benefit Be Increased Based On The Spousal Benefit?

My wife is retired and receives a pension from the County of Los Angeles. During her working years, she had a small business and contributed enough to qualify for Social Security. She started her Social Security benefit at 62 and it was substantially reduced by WEP. I am 60 and will retire within the next five years. My FRA is 67. I am retired from the USMC and receive a pension from the military. I know I will get my Social Security benefits when I retire from my current job but can my wife's benefit be increased based on the spousal benefit?


Your wife could potentially qualify for spousal benefits from your record when you apply for your benefits, but it sounds like her spousal benefits will almost certainly be either fully or partially offset due to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision ( GPO can cause a person's spousal or survivor benefits to be offset by 2/3rds of the amount of any government pension that is based on the person's own earnings for a government employer in the U.S. that was exempt from paying Social Security taxes. The government employment can be at any level of government (e.g., federal, state, local, etc.).

Therefore, it sounds like your wife will likely only be able to receive benefits from your Social Security record if her spousal or survivor benefit amount is more than 2/3rds of the amount of her pension from the County of Los Angeles.

Best, Jerry

Dec 2 2020 - 9:27am
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