How Will The GPO Affect Me?

Nov 6 2018 - 2:58pm

My husband passed away on November 12 2014; subsequently I am now working at a public school to support me and my children. My question is when I file for survivors benefits at 60 how will the GPO effect me? I only make 12,000 a year and they take out for the teachers retirement fund but I live in Louisiana so they do not have agreement with social security. I will be working for the school system for 12 years by the time I file .

Thank you for your response to this critical question

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

The Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision wouldn't affect your widow's benefits until you file for a pension from the teachers retirement system (TRS). Once you start receiving your TRS pension your widow's benefits will be offset by 2/3rds of the amount of your TRS pension, unless you meet one of the exceptions to GPO (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf).

If you do choose to take your widow's benefits at age 60, your benefit rate will be reduced for age regardless of whether or not you are drawing your TRS pension at that time. Assuming that your husband did not receive reduced Social Security retirement benefits prior to his death, your widow's rate will be 28.5% less at age 60 than it would be if you waited until your full retirement age rate to start drawing. And, that reduction rate would be applied before any GPO offset is deducted.

Before filing for benefits, you should strongly consider using our software to explore and compare your various options. You have a lot of different possible filing options to consider, especially if you also have enough Social Security credits to potentially qualify for retirement benefits on your own account. Our software is programmed to deal with GPO considerations, so it should be very helpful to you in deciding when would be the best time for you to file for your various benefits.

Best, Jerry