If you receive a pension from a government job in which you did not pay Social Security taxes, some or all of your Social Security spouse's, widow's or widower's benefit may be offset due to receipt of that pension. This offset is referred to as the Government Pension Offset, or GPO.
The GPO will reduce the amount of your Social Security spouse's, widow's or widower's benefits by two-thirds of the amount of your government pension.
Complete information with links to the FREE online GPO calculator are listed below.
The Government Pension Offset (GPO) is a second provision of the Social Security law that affects many Federal employees. It affects workers who are entitled to a pension based on work in a Federal, State, or local government that was not covered by Social Security, such as CSRS. It also affects employees who transfer to FERS, but do not work for 5 years under FERS. The GPO does not affect employees who were required by law to have Social Security coverage -- such as employees who were automatically covered by FERS without electing it, and people with CSRS Offset coverage.
The GPO affects the Social Security benefits you may be entitled to as a spouse, former spouse, or surviving spouse of someone who is eligible for a full Social Security benefit. Under the GPO, your Social Security spousal benefit will be reduced by $2 for every $3 you receive from your CSRS annuity. Your own Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement (PEBES) will not give you information about the impact of the GPO. You need to review your spouse's (PEBES), which will give you information about your spousal benefit and adjust that amount.
Example: Suppose you are eligible for a $600 Social Security spousal benefit, and that you receive a CSRS annuity of $1,200 a month. The GPO would be two thirds of your monthly $1,200 CSRS benefit, or $800. Since the offset amount is larger than your $600 Social Security benefit, your Social Security benefit would be eliminated.
If you leave Federal service and return to a CSRS-covered appointment after more than 365 days, you would be required by law to have Social Security coverage, so you would have CSRS Offset coverage. In this case, you would be exempt from the GPO. In addition, employees who transfer to FERS and work for 5 or more years under FERS are exempt from the GPO.