Do I Qualify For An Exception To GPO?

May 8 2017 - 1:29pm

I am a retired teacher in Minneapolis, MN who paid into and am now receiving a pension. I retired in 2008 but continued tow work in the same school district as an independent contractor. I paid social security for 5 years from 2008-2013. I have applied for spousal benefits but was denied because of GPO. Can I take exception to their ruling because I paid social security payments for 60 months? Can you provide any advice or suggestions? Thank you for your help.

Hi,

I can't tell you for sure whether or not you meet an exception to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision based on your description of events, but I doesn't sound very likely. The 60 month covered work exception to which you refer applies when the government pension is based on a combination of covered and non-covered work. It doesn't sound like your work as an independent contractor was used as a basis for your pension, so I'm doubtful that this particular exception applies in your case.

As with any Social Security regulation, GPO is complicated. You will probably want to review the Social Security operations manual regarding the 60-month exception ((https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0202608107), and contact Social Security to file an appeal if you think that an exception may apply in your case. There are also other exceptions to GPO, which are described in this Social Security publication: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf.

Best, Jerry