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Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman
Reduction of Public Pensions
(Posted July 17,2016)
Question 1249: I retired from the NS in 1994 on disability. My wife worked her entire carrier for USPS under the Civil Service Annuity System. Why is her spousal annuity being denied for Tier 1? Twenty-five years ago we were told it wouldn't be affected.
The law changed in the 1980's. Congress wanted to make sure that government workers eligible for spouse benefits and not covered by Social Security were treated the same as those under Social Security. The reduction for public pensions applies to both Social Security and Tier 1 of Railroad Retirement Annuities.
If your wife was under FERS instead of CSA, the Tier 1 of her Spouse Annuity would be reduced for her Social Security benefits.
As a personal note, because I also receive a Civil Service Annuity, I cannot receive a Spouse benefit because 2/3 of my Federal Annuity is more than half of my wife's Social Security benefit.
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