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Receipt of a Governmental Pension

1836. Receipt of a Governmental Pension

1836.1 How does the receipt of a governmental pension affect benefits?

If you receive a government pension, certain circumstances cause an offset against your Social Security benefit. Benefits payable as a spouse, divorced spouse, surviving spouse, surviving divorced spouse, or a deemed spouse may be reduced if the person receives periodic payments based on his or her own employment in the Federal Government, State or political subdivision that was not covered under Social Security.

1836.2 What is a "periodic payment"?

A periodic payment is a:

  1. Payment received on a monthly or other than monthly basis; or

  2. Lump-sum payment that replaces a monthly payment.

1836.3 What is a "State or political subdivision"?

For government pension purposes, a State or political subdivision includes the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

1836.4 Are there any exceptions to the government pension offset?

The offset is effective if you apply for Social Security benefits in or after December 1977, unless you meet one of the following exceptions:

  1. The offset does not apply for any month you:

    1. Were entitled to or eligible for the government pension for any month between December 1977 through November 1982; and

    2. Meet all the requirements for entitlement that were in effect and being administered in January 1977;

  2. The offset does not apply to benefits payable December 1982 and later if you:

    1. Were entitled to or eligible for the government pension before July 1, 1983; and

    2. Were receiving one-half support from the retirement or disability insurance beneficiary at the time that beneficiary either became entitled to benefits, began a period of disability, or died;

  3. You are a State or local government employee whose pension is based on work covered by Social Security on your last day of employment and your last day at work was before July 1, 2004, in a position covered by the pension plan;

  4. You are a state or local employee whose government pension is based on a job where you were paying Social Security taxes during the last five years of employment and your last day of employment was July 1, 2004, or later.

  5. You are a Federal employee who is covered under Social Security by law; or

  6. You are a Federal employee who chose to switch from the civil service retirement system to employment covered under Social Security on or before December 31, 1987.

1836.5 How much is the Social Security benefit reduced?

If you do not meet one of the exceptions above and you receive a government pension, your Social Security benefit is reduced by one of the following amounts:

  1. If you were eligible for a government pension before July 1983, your Social Security benefits are reduced by 100 percent of your government pension; or

  2. If you are eligible for a government pension after June 1983, your Social Security benefits are reduced by two-thirds the amount of your government pension.

Effective with benefits payable for December 1984 and later, the two-thirds reduction rate applies to all situations where the offset applies. This is true regardless of when you were first eligible for a government pension.

Last Revised: Jan. 20, 2006

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