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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 37373
Experience:  I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience, including representing clients before the U.S. Social Security Administration.
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If a teacher retires in texas has only a pension and no social

Customer Question

if a teacher retires in texas has only a pension and no social security benefits but marries a man who does and is in the outside world not a teacher himself,, if he passes does she get to claim his social security benefits as his spouse
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon,
I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.
The answer is a bit complicated. Yes, you as a retired teacher with a pension would still be eligible to make a survivor claim with social security based on your deceased husband's lifetime earnings. However, your survivor benefit is subject to offset if you are also receiving a pension based on earnings that you did not pay social security taxes on while you were employed. This is because of the effect of the Government Pension Offset. Let me explain:
If you receive a pension from an employer (usually a government employer or teacher's union) who did not withhold Social Security taxes from your salary, your Social Security spousal, ex-spousal, or survivor's benefits may be reduced or eliminated by the Government Pension Offset (GPO).
The GPO provision reduces your spousal, ex-spousal, or survivor's benefits by $2 for every $3 of non-SS pension benefit.
So, what this means is that, for example, if your husband's retirement benefit is $2000 per month and therefore your survivor benefit would also be $2000 per month, and your teacher pension is $1,500 per month, social security would deduct $1,000 from your survivor benefit ($2 for each $3 you get as a pension) and pay you a survivor benefit of $1000. You would still receive your teacher pension of $1500 for a total payment of $2500 per month between your pension and survivor benefit.
You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.
Please remember to rate my service to you so that I can be compensated for helping you.
I wish you and yours the best in 2015,
Doug