If you are one of the many individuals who has numerous questions regarding Social Security, there is a seminar on March 22, 2012 at the Florence Sylvester Senior Center in Laguna Hills from 5-6:30pm (with wine and cheese) entitled “Understanding Social Security – What Every Woman Should Know.” To attend, please call 949-380-0155 for reservations.
If you are unable to attend, following is an excerpt from an article in Government Executive on a situation involving Social Security benefits that may apply to you.
Example: John and Martha
The Situation: A Civil Service Retirement System employee is married to a worker covered by Social Security. The spouse either retired from military service, worked under the Federal Employees Retirement System or had a job in private industry.
The Players: John, a CSRS employee, age 66, is planning to continue working for a few more years before collecting his CSRS retirement. Martha, who is retired from a career in the banking industry, is now receiving a Social Security benefit of $1,600 per month at 66. (That’s her full Social Security retirement age. Click here to find yours.)
John has very little Social Security-covered employment since he spent most of his career exempt from paying the Social Security tax as a CSRS employee. So for this example, his entitlement to Social Security benefits is based on his wife’s work record, rather than his own. Since John is now at the full retirement age for Social Security, he is entitled to receive benefits without applying an earnings limit. When his wife applied for her Social Security benefit, John discovered he is entitled to 50 percent of her benefit and can begin receiving $800 per month. Once he retires from federal service and begins receiving his CSRS retirement benefit, he must notify Social Security. He then will be subject to the Government Pension Offset, which will reduce his Social Security spousal benefit by two-thirds of his CSRS retirement. At that time, his entitlement to his wife’s Social Security benefit will be eliminated.
If John was entitled to his own Social Security benefit, then he would receive his own or 50 percent of his wife’s benefit, whichever is higher. When John begins receiving his CSRS retirement, his Social Security benefit (had he been entitled to a benefit on his own work record) would be recomputed under the modified Windfall Elimination Provision formula. It is important for CSRS employees who are over the full Social Security retirement age and are receiving Social Security benefits to notify the Social Security Administration when they retire under CSRS, since their Social Security benefit must be recomputed based on the WEP and the GPO.