Will my Social Security benefit be reduced due to the federal pension?

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The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times reader about retirement and other issues facing the federal workforce. He is answered by Reg Jones, founding member of the Executive Service and columnist for the Federal Times since 1995.

Question: I sent you a question a few years ago and thank you for your response. I just spoke to someone at OPM Pension Services about something else and asked the same question I asked you, but got a different answer.

My husband worked for the USPS for 38 years, CS employee. He died while working and I am currently receiving a survivor’s pension. I’m still working – for 45 years now and planning to retire at 65 (2 more years).

My question is, will my social security benefits be reduced due to the federal pension I am receiving? The OPM person told me that my social security would in fact be reduced until full retirement age (66/10 months). She said any other pension would not reduce Social Security payments, unlike a federal pension.

I have been put in social security since 1977 working full time. My husband contributed to his pension for 38 years. I just need 100% confirmation that my social security will NOT be reduced. I base my retirement income on that and will have to defer if my social security is reduced.

Reply from Reg: Neither your pension nor your Social Security benefit will be reduced. You have earned them and they cannot be taken away or reduced. The person you spoke to at the OPM was referring to the provision of the Government Pensions Compensation Act, which reduces the social security benefits of the spouse of a person who receives an annuity from a pension system where she does not pay social security contributions. This does not apply in your case.

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Reg Jones is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at the Federal Times. From 1979 to 1995, he was deputy director of the US Office of Personnel Management, responsible for recruitment and examinations, white and blue collar compensation, retirement, insurance and other matters. The opinions expressed are his own.

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