Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

WEP and spousal benefit

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Q. I am a 63 year-old CSRS retiree with 40 Social Security credits but substantial earnings years of < 20. I think I understand the impact on my small SS benefit and the impact of the WEP provision.

My wife is 67 and waiting until she is 70 to collect her SS.

We have been reading a lot about the file and suspending of SS for the one with higher earnings, which is my wife, and the claiming now of the spousal benefit for me.

If my wife files and suspends her SS, we understand it will grow just like she did not file and at 70 she would get the full amount as calculated on the SS website.

However, as a CSRS retiree, am I eligible to apply for a spousal benefit under her since her SS is higher than mine, and if so, would there be the same WEP calculation to this spousal benefit as it would be to my own SS benefit?

A. The WEP wouldn’t apply to your spousal benefit. However, because you are receiving an annuity from CSRS, that benefit would be subject to the government pension offset provision of law. As a result, that benefit would be reduced by $2 for every $3 you receive in your CSRS annuity.



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