Is It True That All I Get Is The $255 Death Benefit?

Feb 20 2019 - 10:35am

My husband retired at 62, received 1 SS check and died the next month. I retired at 62, had enough work in the SS system to collect SS. I also had 10 years in the state school retirement system. I thought I would be able to pick up his SS after his death but I’m told all I get is the $255 death benefit. Is all this true or is there something I ca do about this?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

If you're receiving a state pension based on your work for a school system where your earnings were exempt from Social Security taxes, then any monthly widow's benefits for which you would otherwise qualify could be subject to offset in the amount of 2/3rds of your gross monthly state pension. That could potentially reduce your widow's rate to zero depending on the amount of your state pension and your widow's rate. The reason for such an offset would be Social Security's Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf).

I can't tell you whether or not you might be eligible for any widow's benefits without more information, but you might want to consider using our software to find out. The software is fully programmed to handle cases involving GPO.

Best, Jerry