How Much Will I Get For A Spousal Benefit?

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Jun 23 2018 - 7:11am

I have been retired from a government job for 2.5 years. I received government pension and reduced social security benefits (abiut $600/month). My husband is not a government worker. When he retires at 66.5, his estimate social security is about $2000. How much will I get for spousal benefit? My guess is $1000-$600 = $400. Please let me know. Thank you in advance.

Hi,

I hate to give you bad news, but if you didn't pay Social Security taxes on your government job then you may not be able to receive any spousal benefits depending on the amount of your government pension. Due to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision, if your government earnings were exempt from Social Security taxes then any spousal benefits to which you would otherwise be entitled would likely be offset by 2/3rds of the amount of your government pension (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf). In other words, if your government pension is at least 1.5 times as much as your spousal benefit your spousal rate could be reduced to zero.

But, if you paid taxes on your government earnings then GPO wouldn't apply to you. In that event, your unreduced spousal benefit rate would be calculated by subtracting your full retirement age rate (PIA) from 50% of your husband's PIA. However, if you start drawing the spousal benefits prior to your full retirement age, your rate would be reduced for age. Our maximization software could do the math for you, and it can also handle GPO calculations.

Best, Jerry