If a person has a pension from a job in State, local or Federal government and the job was not covered by Social Security (SS), the benefit they can get from their spouse's Social Security is reduced by 2/3 of their own pension. From Government Pension Offset:

We’ll reduce your Social Security benefits by two-thirds of your government pension. In other words, if you get a monthly civil service pension of $600, two-thirds of that, or $400, must be deducted from your Social Security benefits. For example, if you’re eligible for a $500 spouses, widows, or widowers benefit from Social Security, you’ll get $100 a month from Social Security ($500 – $400 = $100). If two-thirds of your government pension is more than your Social Security benefit, your benefit could be reduced to zero.

(This is a common outcome for people who retire from the Federal Government under the CSRS system (Civil Service Retirement System). The outcome may be different for retirement under FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System), but this question is not about FERS. To clarify, such a person may receive their own SS benefits if they, themselves, also worked at least 40 quarters in a job covered by SS, but the formula to calculate their own SS benefits is less generous than the standard formula if their pension is high, but their own benefit does not go to zero.)

When such a person's spouse dies, is the $255 "death benefit" reduced by some factor, or not, or is it zero?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.