Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Windfall elimination provision

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Q. I am a 62-year-old CSRS Offset retiree receiving Social Security survivor benefits. I have been informed that my annuity will be reduced by $773 per month since I am now eligible for Social Security benefits.

When I applied for Social Security benefits on my own earnings, I was told that I could not receive both my benefit and the survivor benefit I was already receiving. It was my understanding that I would receive a reduced Social Security benefit equal to the amount of the offset to my annuity and that I was also entitled to keep my Social Security survivor benefit since I had more than the five years of CSRS Offset service required to avoid the government pension offset. Am I wrong?

A. Your Social Security was reduced because of the windfall elimination provision, not the government pension offset. The WEP reduces that benefit if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.

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