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Special Payments and Government Pensions

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

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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There are 14 Comments

my son has been recieving ssi benefits since he was 18yrs old 638.00 per month and 238.00 from the state will he loose his ssi
benefits if i retire from the federal job under civil service retirement and leave him half of my retirement which will be 1200.00 per month.
my son is blind since berth.

at what age can a person still continue to work and still recieve social security payment my friend is working under civil service and she said she recieves 700.00 per month from social security payment for still working 40 plus hrs per week and i know she makes 4200.00 per month on her paycheck is social security giving us an incentive to keep working after age 60.00? please respond.thank you

can i recieve social security payments at age 60 if i retire with pension from a civil service job. that i have worked for 34 yrs.
i have at least 20 points with social security.

I assume you're talking about Social Security retirement benefits. The earliest you can receive Social Security retirement benefits is age 62. Receiving retirement benefits at age 62 will reduce your benefit if you retire before your "full retirement age". If you're disabled or a surviving spouse you may qualify for benefits before age 62.

See :

If you work for an employer who does not withhold Social Security taxes from your salary, such as a government agency or an employer in another country, the ­pension you get based on that work may reduce your Social Security benefits.

See :

How wages affect your Social Security retirement benefits is a rather odd function of the following :
1) Your full retirement age
2) Are your total wages above $14,160 (for 2009)

If you work and are full retirement age or older, you may keep all of your benefits, no matter how much you earn.

If you are younger than full retirement age, there is a limit to how much you can earn and still receive full Social Security benefits. If you are younger than full retirement age during all of 2009, Social Security will deduct $1 from your benefits for each $2 you earned above $14,160.

See :

You should seek one-on-one counseling for your situation.

To be eligible for SSI you must be :
* Aged (65 or older), blind, or disabled.
* Have limited income and resources (assets)
* Be a US citizen or qualified alien

The status of one's parent's is not a specific factor (ex. is parent retired), but income or assets received from a parent may be a factor. However, in general, deemed income from a parent stops the month after a child turns age 18.
For example, a child who could not receive SSI because of deeming may be able to get SSI when he or she turns age 18.

The comment I read above regarding How Work Affects Social Security retirement benefits wasn't clear to me. Did that mean if I am of full retirement age (65), I can work full time AND receive my Social Security benefits at the same time? Can someone answer this question? I heard there was a gentleman who is 68 and is receiving Social Security checks and he is also working full time at top pay. Is this legal????

You can work full time and receive Social Security retirement benefits. There's nothing illegal about this.

HOWEVER, if you do work while receiving retirement benefits, AND you are less than your "full retirement age" (age 67 for those born 1943-1954) Social Security will deduct $1 from your benefits for each $2 you earned above $14,160.

Since the gentleman you describe is older than his full retirement age (he's 68) he will not see deductions in his Social Security retirement benefit while working.

To me, it's a relatively odd system where they discourage younger seniors from working, but encourage older seniors to work, but that's the way it is.

The corollary to this is : Don't start Social Security retirement benefits until you're sure you won't work any more.

See here for details :

I will retire at age 65 with a California State Teachers Retirement System pension. I also worked enough quarters before I became a teacher to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits. How will my social security be effected by my pension? What social security survivor benefits will my wife and I have when we die?

I worked 20 years for the railroad as an engineer. I also worked 20 years for the state of Pennsylvania as a safety inspector. I paid into railroad retirement and social security. Under WEP can I claim both reitrements?

Please contact the SSA directly for this. We're not experts on WEP and even less on Railroad Retirement.

I'm not sure I understand the statement, "I paid into Railroad Retirement AND Social Security." This implies you paid Social Security taxes while employed as an inspector by Pennslyvania state. I know this varies, but generally state employees have a separate pension not covered by Social Security.

The following sources indicate Railroad Retirement workers are exempt from WEP. However, the last source says this exemption only holds if your only pension is based on railroad employment.

My husband is a retired Federal employee...he receives no social security at all. I am currently a Federal employee but I am in the CSRS Offset retirement system. If I die before my husband can he collect any of my social security? Also, If I am going to be receiving a social security benefit because I put the money into the system, why then couldn't he receive a survivors benefit based on mly social security? Thank you.

We are not experts in this area, but it appears that any benefits for your husband may be affected by the Government Pension Offset (GPO), and any benefits for you may be affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

If you receive a pension based on employment not covered by Social Security and you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own Social Security record as well as a spouse's benefit, the SSA may reduce both types of benefits.

If a person's retirement benefit is subject to WEP and a spouse's benefit is subject GPO, the SSA figures the calculations per the following link :

See also :

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