Is There Any Way I Can Draw Social Security Benefits Of Any Type?

Jun 19 2018 - 7:04am

I am a 63 year old retired federal civil service retiree with 25 quarters of social security. My wife of 30 years is 56 years old and is a retired public school teacher and has her 40 quarters of social security paid. Is there anyway I can draw social security benefits of any type? If I can would I have to wait until my wife turns 62?

Hi,

It sounds unlikely. You'd need at least 40 quarters of coverage to draw benefits on your own record, and your wife would have to be drawing her benefits in order for you to be potentially eligible for spousal benefits. And, the only way she'd be eligible for her benefits prior to age 62 is if she qualifies for disability benefits (SSDI).

Even when your wife does start drawing her benefits, though, it sounds like any spousal benefits for which you would otherwise qualify would almost certainly be offset by 2/3rds of the amount of your federal pension. That's because of the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf). In other words, if your federal pension is at least 1.5 times as much as your spousal benefit then your spousal benefit rate would likely be reduced to zero.

About the only way that GPO would not apply to you is if you paid Social Security taxes on your federal earnings for at least the last 5 years of work on which your pension is based. And, unless you meet an exception to GPO, the offset would also apply to your widower benefits if your wife dies before you.

Best, Jerry