• 75°

Social Security Matters: Ask Rusty – Why won’t Social Security give me my widow’s benefit?

Dear Rusty: I have been a widow since November 2019. I retired under the Federal Civil Service Retirement System. Before my husband died, I made an appointment with Social Security to see if I could receive his Social Security if he passed on. I was told I could. Since he passed, Social Security has adamantly refused to let me have my husband’s Social Security. I have had many problems with them. Who is correct here? I have lost $1400 per month. My social security check is about $126 per month. Signed: Frustrated Widow

Dear Frustrated Widow: First, please accept my condolences on the loss of your husband. Unfortunately, I don’t have good news for you.

Because of your Federal Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) pension, you are subject to the “Government Pension Offset” (GPO) provision of Social Security. The GPO reduces the survivor benefit for anyone who also has a pension from an employer which did not participate in Social Security (neither the employer or the employee paid into Social Security), and your Federal CSRS pension falls into this category. GPO reduces any survivor benefit you might otherwise be entitled to by 2/3rds of the amount of your CSRS pension, which often eliminates the survivor benefit. For clarity, GPO also applies to a Social Security benefit from a living spouse.

As you probably already know, your CSRS pension caused your own Social Security benefit, earned from other work outside of your Federal employment, to be reduced by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). Unfortunately, whoever you previously spoke with at the Social Security Administration prior to your husband’s death gave you some incorrect information, because you are also subject to the GPO. And that is why Social Security will not now pay you a survivor benefit from your husband.

I’m afraid you have no recourse on this, as both the GPO and WEP have been the law for decades. The Federal Government has now changed to a “Federal Employee Retirement System” (FERS) which fully participates in Social Security (both employees and the employer contribute to Social Security), so more recent Federal retirees are not subject to the WEP and GPO rules. But there are still many U.S., state and local government employers which, to varying degrees, do not participate in Social Security and whose employees are still impacted by both GPO and WEP.

FOR MORE COLUMNS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, CHECK OUT OUR OPINION SECTION HERE.

ALSO OF INTEREST:

Social Security Matters: Ask Rusty – Widow unsure about her Social Security benefits

News

Several speak out against mask requirements at Dare County Schools

News

Federal appeals court refuses to reinstate North Carolina abortion ban

Crime

North Carolina man accused of firing at police substation charged in deaths of family members

News

North Carolina tax revenue soars, $6.5 billion windfall predicted by mid-2023

Currituck

Currituck County wreck results in injuries

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to 18 months in prison for firearm charge

Crime

North Carolina man already jailed for other offense charged in fatal crash

Crime

Man with guns in car on campus of UNC-Chapel Hill arrested

Crime

Virginia man arrested for drug charges after Kill Devil Hills traffic stop

Lifestyles

Outer Banks Community Foundation prepares for 2021 hurricane season, seeks donations

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to over 17 years in prison for cocaine distribution

News

Bill expanding access to North Carolina government worker information clears Senate

News

‘Poolside Pests’ program encourages pool owners to look for, report nonnative insects

News

Kitty Hawk moves closer to new police, fire/EMS substation

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to 30 years in prison for producing child pornography

Hyde

Mattamuskeet Early College High School’s Class of 2021

Lifestyles

Manteo student raising puppy for Leader Dogs for the Blind

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to 10 years in prison for firearm charge

News

Weekly gas price update for North Carolina

News

Piers of the Outer Banks: Rodanthe Pier

Lifestyles

Juneteenth celebration set at Cookhouse Museum

News

Hearing set for proposed Manteo zoning map

News

Water flows again in Avon; boil water advisory in effect

Lifestyles

Dare Day postponed until next year