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I collect one half my benefits since I was in the Postal…

Customer Question
I collect one half...

I collect one half my benefits since I was in the Postal Service. I got my 40 quarters, but they said I can only receive half. Since then my exwife is now receiving benefits, we have been divorced 20 years and I never remarried...can I collect half of hers

Accountant's Assistant: These retirement benefits are supposed to help us but they can be so complicated! The Retirement Expert will help you get the most benefits propertly. Is there anything else the Retirement Accountant should be aware of?

Not that i know of

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Social Security
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I was paying into csrs not SS until I retired and started working outside of the government.
Answered in 1 hour by:
12/15/2017
Social Security Expert: emc011075, Tax Adviser replied 8 months ago
emc011075
emc011075, Tax Adviser
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 3,979
Experience: Tax adviser IRS licensed Enrolled Agent and tax instructor
Verified

Hi. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to help you.

Your own benefits are offset by WIP - Windfall elimination provision. Basically your government pension is reducing your social security benefits. However, the same government pension will also reduce your spousal benefits (based on your spouse's record). The provision is called Government pension offset or GPO. You can only collect one benefits at the time, which means if benefits based on your ex spouse's records (after GPO) are higher than your own benefits (after WIP) you can switch to spousal benefits. Unfortunately you cannot get your spousal in addition to your own.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
well my ex wife gets lots more than me, how can I switch? I got a letter from SS telling me to apply for hers. Can I do that and just collect hers and not mine, even if I was csrs.
Social Security Expert: emc011075, Tax Adviser replied 8 months ago

If benefits based on her records are higher than your own than you can contact social security and switch. Your spousal benefits are 35 - 50% of what she was/will be eligible for at her full retirement age. Your spousal benefits will be reduced by your government pension offset, by 2/3 of your pension to be exact.

For instance, if your pension is $900/month your spousal benefits will be reduced by $600/month. You will need to contact social security to get exact amounts. Once you determine that your spousal benefits are higher than you can switch by calling social security directly, login into your online social security account or visiting your local office.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
if my pension is 3000 a month and her SS is 3000 a month the offset would be 2000 leaving me with 1000 does that seem right or would i only get half of that, which is still more that my 342 dollars. If this is right i should apply for hers.
Social Security Expert: emc011075, Tax Adviser replied 8 months ago

Not exactly. If her benefits are $3000 (assuming that's her full retirement age amount), your spousal benefits will be between 35 and 50% (depending how old you were when you applied for your own). So lets assume you applied for your benefits on or after your reached your full retirement age and your spousal benefits are 50% of her benefits, or $1500. If your pension is $3000, the offset will be $2000 (2/3) which eliminates your spousal benefits entirely.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Wow who thinks of this stuff...thanks you have been very helpful. I guess I will remain happy with my 342 dollars...as hey say beer than nothing
Social Security Expert: emc011075, Tax Adviser replied 8 months ago

You're welcome. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

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