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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13568
Experience:  22+ years legal exp. - 12+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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My husband just died and I want to know about survivor

Customer Question

My husband just died and I want to know about survivor benefits I am a civil service retiree and get a pension I also get a small social security check from my years in private jobs. Can I get spousal benefits from my husband's social security.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Gwen, I am so sorry for your loss.

You are likely eligible for a survivor benefit, but until the "math" is done, you may find that it is less than your own (not worth switching). Here is how it works: Because we are not permitted under SS law to collect 2 persons' amount, i.e. survivor benefit (which is a dependent benefit or sorts) and another government benefit, in this instance, they do the math as such: The GPO (Government Pension Offset often takes over: Take 2/3 of your government pension. Subtract that number from your survivor benefit amount. If there is something left over, and you prefer it over your own SS benefit amount from your own record, you can choose to switch to that reduced survivor benefit. THis is true of other people as well: If you had your own benefit (say a lifetime of working full time in the SS world, paying SS taxes) and then became eligible for a survivor benefit (or even a spousal benefit), you couldn't collect them both - one or the other so you take the larger of the two.

Keep in mind, there are some rare exceptions too complicated to go into here (and we don't have the info pertaining to your details to do it anyway) where the GPO will not be applied - and for this reason, I do suggest you DO apply by going to your SSA office (all survivor applications generally require you go in person) and getting the firm numbers that apply, just in case. Also, while the GPO numbers may apply, it may be that they still turn out to allow you an INCREASE because that survivor benefit could be more than your own even after GPO affect, warranting a switch.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

I hope this helps! My goal is toprovide you with excellent and accurateservice – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, Iam happy to address follow-up questions.

Kindly rate me "excellent"when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, shouldyou have legal questions. Be sure tostart future posts with "To ***** Esq., ONLY" ifyou want me to specifically answer it.

Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.

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