What is Government Pension Offset (GPO)?
If you will receive a pension for work not covered by Social Security (such as government employment), any Social Security benefits you may be eligible to receive on your spouse's record may be reduced. This type of benefit reduction is called Government Pension Offset (GPO).
Some individuals are exempt from the offset. If you you want to know if you meet the requirements for an exemption, please read the "When won't my Social Security benefits be reduced?" section of our "Government Pension Offset" factsheet.
Information You Need to Calculate Your Benefits If You Are Affected by the GPO
To estimate your future spouse's, widow's or widower's benefits under the GPO, you need two things:
- The estimated "gross" monthly amount of your pension from your government job not covered by Social Security.
- The estimated monthly amount of your Social Security benefit as a spouse, widow or widower before the effect of GPO.
Find the estimated amount of the retirement benefit your spouse would be eligible to receive at full retirement age. If your spouse already receives benefits, ask them what their benefit would be if it started at their full (or normal) retirement age.
- Divide this amount in half and round down to the nearest dollar. This is your estimated spouse's benefit if you retire at full retirement age.
If you will be eligible for a Social Security retirement benefit based on your own earnings as well as a higher benefit based on your spouse's earnings, it will also affect your benefits as a spouse, widow or widower.
To get a more accurate estimate of how the government pension you will receive for work not covered by Social Security will affect the part of your benefit based on your spouse's work:
Enter the estimated "gross" monthly amount of the government pension (in today's dollars) you will receive for work not covered by Social Security in Step #1 of "Calculate Your Benefits."
- Use your most recent estimate to determine your estimated retirement benefit based on your own earnings.
Note: Your retirement benefit based on your own earnings may be reduced due to another provision of the law, the Windfall Elimination Provision.
Subtract the estimated amount of your retirement benefit from the estimated amount of your spouse’s, widow's or widower’s benefit before GPO. Enter that amount in Step #2 of "Calculate Your Benefits" and select "Compute."
- The amount in #3 of "Calculate Your Benefits" is your estimated spouse's, widow's or widower's benefit after GPO is applied. Add that figure to the estimated amount of your retirement benefit to find your total estimated monthly benefit.
If you retire before full retirement age, your benefit amount as a spouse will be reduced. (The reduction will vary based on your date of birth. The maximum reduction for benefits starting at age 62 is 30% for someone born in 1946. It will increase to 35% for those born in 1960 or later.)
For more information about your estimated benefit amount if you retire before reaching full retirement age, please call our toll free number at
If you will be eligible for widow's or widower's benefits or you do not have access to your spouse's estimate or records, please call our toll free number at