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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 37666
Experience:  I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience, including representing clients before the U.S. Social Security Administration.
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I am a 62 year old federal employee I am also a widow, since

Customer Question

I am a 62 year old federal employee I am also a widow, since age 59.
My question is I am considering retiring and I am trying to get someone to tell me what my benefits for SS will be and if I am considered a CSRS off set employee. I have paid social security . Would collecting my husbands widows pension be better than collecting on myself
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon Celeste,

I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Presuming that your husband earned more income while paying social security taxes during his life than you did, then you would want to apply for a survivor benefit as opposed to your own social security benefit. Your survivor benefit will pay you the same amount of benefit that your husband was receiving, or was eligible to receive at the time of his passing.

However, your federal pension will effect the amount of social security benefits that you receive---you are a CSRS offset employee. Let me explain.

If you will be receiving an annuity/pension payment from a retirement system where you did not pay Social Security taxes, you’ll be subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). The WEP will reduce your Social Security benefit if you have fewer than 30 years of “substantial earnings” under Social Security. Substantial earnings are greater than those required to earn Social Security credits. To see what substantial earnings are by year see this link:

This is a very complex area of Social Security law, and therefore, I will point you to this excellent primer on the WEP:

Generally, if a person qualified for their non-social security pension after December 1, 1982, and they worked less than 20 years in a job where they paid social security taxes, then up to 1/2 of their non-social security pension benefit would be applied (deducted) against any expected Social Security 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 be so kind as to rate my service to you. That is the only way I am credited for assisting you.

I wish you and yours the best in 2016,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was paying FICA taxes since 1985 here at the VA plus I paid in social security since 1969 . I have been in the federal gov . since 1978 but I left and came back in 1985. So if I do not pay back my time, I still have 30 years this year. My husband was on diability and was receiving 1500.00/month for a few months before his death. My benefit at age 62 is 1,343.00. would my widows pension be subject to a deduction WEP too, if I decided to take his instead of my own?
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.


Yes, both a survivor benefit (widow's benefit) as well as your own retirement benefit are subject to the WEP.

Please keep in mind that, even though you have already paid your deposit money over to JustAnswer, until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be paid for having assisted you with your questions.

You may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further.

I wish you well,


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