Q&A: When a government pension doesn’t reduce Social Security benefits

Dear Liz: I have contributed to Social Security for 40 years and have no government pension. My husband selected a reduced teacher’s pension so I would receive that same amount should he predecease me. Will my Social Security be reduced in this scenario?

Answer: No. The provisions that may reduce Social Security payments such as the government pension offset and the windfall elimination provision apply only to the person receiving the pension, not the spouse. If he dies first, your income would remain the same. If you die first, his survivor’s benefit from Social Security could be reduced or eliminated.

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  1. Helga Daniel says

    Hi Liz,
    I don’t get any pension, so I invested for old-age income when I could. Ex husband (Service career) died at 62. He’d wanted me to stay home taking care of the children, so I never had much of any income of my own, except for part time work when he was deployed. I took Soc.Sec. at age 62 1/2 as there wasn’t much call for a rather unskilled older woman with health problems. For 2017, I got some kind of “one-time” curtailment, no real reason given. All the while I only used enough dividends as needed to make things work, and kept reinvesting the rest. But for the last two years my taxes went sky high, probably because of the RMD. Question: Was everyones’ SS check shorted for 2017, and will the “temp” situation go back to the regular amount next year?
    Thanks for educating me