Social Insecurity for Retirees

February 27, 1997

Social Insecurity for Retirees

The Social Security Administration is offering two fact sheets explaining why your Social Security benefits may be reduced if you receive a pension under the Civil Service Retirement System.

The fact sheets provide information on the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision, which can affect the amount of Social Security benefits a person or a spouse can receive if one of the spouses is also receiving a civl service pension.

"If you're a long-time government employee and you also worked paying into Social Security, your Social Security benefits are going to be reduced a bit," a Social Security Administration spokesman said.

Under the rules, two-thirds of a government pension is used to offset any Social Security spousal or widow's benefits. So, for example, if a retired fed receives a civil service pension of $600 a month and a Social Security spousal benefit of $500 a month, then $400 would be deducted, reducing the benefit to $100 a month.

If a federal retiree worked outside the government in a job that made Social Security deductions, the Social Security benefits due the retiree are reduced using a formula that eliminates any windfall.

The rules affect only those under the old Civil Service Retirement System, not the Federal Employee's Retirement System. Federal employees who chose to switch from CSRS to FERS would be exempt from a pension offset only if they worked for the federal government for five years after the switch.

The two fact sheets, "Government Pension Offset" and "A Pension From Work Not Covered By Social Security" are posted on the Social Security Administration's Web site. They are also available at local Social Security offices or by calling SSA's toll-free number, 800-772-1213.

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