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Special Payments and Government Pensions

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at ssa.gov.

348. Special Payments and Government Pensions

348.1 Are your payments reduced if you are under a governmental pension system?

Yes, your special monthly payment is reduced by the amount of any periodic benefit under a governmental pension system for which you are eligible for that month.

If you are married, your special monthly payment may be reduced if your spouse is eligible for a benefit under a governmental pension system. It does not matter whether you or your spouse is retired and receiving the governmental pension. Eligibility is the controlling factor.

348.2 What payments are considered "periodic benefits"?

A periodic benefit under a governmental pension system means any pension, annuity, or similar payment established by the U.S., a State, any political subdivision of a State, or any wholly owned instrumentality of one or more of these governmental entities. This includes monthly Social Security benefits and railroad retirement annuities and pensions. Lump-sums paid in place of a periodic benefit are also included. However, workers' compensation payments and payments by the Department of Veterans Affairs because of a service-connected disability or a service-connected death are not included.

348.3 What adjustments are made to your benefit payments if you are eligible for a governmental pension?

If you are eligible for a governmental pension, the amount of your pension is subtracted from your special monthly cash payment.

If your spouse is eligible for a governmental pension, but is not entitled to the special payment, your special payment is reduced. The reduction amount, after any reduction for your own governmental pension, is the total amount of any periodic pension for which your spouse is eligible.

If both you and your spouse are entitled to the special payment, each payment is first reduced by the amount of his or her own governmental pension (if any). The payment amount is further reduced by each monthly benefit amount that is more than any periodic pension for which the other spouse is eligible.

Last Revised: Jun. 30, 2004


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