SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home1836. Receipt of a Governmental Pension

1836.1 How does the receipt of a governmental pension affect benefits?

If you receive a government pension, certain circumstances cause an offset against your Social Security benefit. Benefits payable as a spouse, divorced spouse, surviving spouse, surviving divorced spouse, or a deemed spouse may be reduced if the person receives periodic payments based on his or her own employment in the Federal Government, State or political subdivision that was not covered under Social Security.

1836.2 What is a periodic payment?

A periodic payment is a:

  1. Payment received on a monthly or other than monthly basis; or

  2. Lump-sum payment that replaces a monthly payment.

1836.3 What is a State or political subdivision?

For government pension purposes, a State or political subdivision includes the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

1836.4 Are there any exceptions to the government pension offset?

The offset is effective if you apply for Social Security benefits in or after December 1977, unless you meet one of the following exceptions:

  1. The offset does not apply for any month you:

    1. Were entitled to or eligible for the government pension for any month between December 1977 through November 1982; and

    2. Meet all the requirements for entitlement that were in effect and being administered in January 1977;

  2. The offset does not apply to benefits payable December 1982 and later if you:

    1. Were entitled to or eligible for the government pension before July 1, 1983; and

    2. Were receiving one-half support from the retirement or disability insurance beneficiary at the time that beneficiary either became entitled to benefits, began a period of disability, or died;

  3. You were a Federal, State or local government employee and you were eligible for and filed an application for Social Security spouse’s benefits before April 1, 2004; or

  4. You were a Federal, State or local government employee whose pension is based on work covered by both Social Security and the pension plan on your last day of employment and your last day at work was before July 1, 2004; or

  5. You were a Federal, State or local government employee whose pension is based on a job where you were paying Social Security taxes during the last 60 months of employment and your last day of employment was July 1, 2004, or later; or

  6. You were a Federal employee first hired after December 31, 1983, and you are covered under Social Security by law; or

  7. You were a Federal employee who chose to switch from the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) to employment covered under Social Security on or before December 31, 1987, and you worked under Federal covered employment in the last 60 months of Federal service; or

  8. You were a Federal employee who chose to switch from the CSRS to employment covered under Social Security after December 31, 1987, you worked under Federal covered employment in the last 60 months or more during the period beginning January 1988, and ending with the first month of entitlement to spouse’s benefits. The 60 months need not be consecutive, but must be worked prior to entitlement to spouse’s benefits.

1836.5 How much is the Social Security benefit reduced?

If you do not meet one of the exceptions above and you receive a government pension, your Social Security benefit is reduced by one of the following amounts:

  1. If you were eligible for a government pension before July 1983, your Social Security benefits are reduced by 100 percent of your government pension; or

  2. If you are eligible for a government pension after June 1983, your Social Security benefits are reduced by two-thirds the amount of your government pension.

Effective with benefits payable for December 1984 and later, the two-thirds reduction rate applies to all situations where the offset applies. This is true regardless of when you were first eligible for a government pension.

Last Revised: Nov. 30, 2010