Q. I have received contradictory advice. I am 66 and am still working but understand from my Social Security office that the Government Pension Offset applies to my widow benefit even though I have not retired from my government job. My co-worker receives her spousal benefit and tells me she won’t lose it until she retirees. Who is right?
A. You have been misinformed. The Government Pension Office does not begin until a government retiree begins to receive a monthly pension from non-Social Security public employment.
Since you have reached full retirement age and are still working, you should apply immediately for your widow benefit. With repeal of the earnings limitation at full retirement age you are entitled to your widow benefit without regard to your earnings. When you retire, your widow benefit will be reduced by two-thirds of your government annuity. If two-thirds of your annuity exceeds your widow benefit, no further Social Security will be paid, but until you begin your government annuity, you are entitled to your full widow benefit.
The same advice applies to full-retirement-age spouses and any workers eligible for their own Social Security based on non-government employment. Repeal of the earnings limitation for anyone full retirement age or more enables workers continuing in the work force to receive their full Social Security determined without the Government Pension Offset or the Windfall Elimination reduction that will become applicable the month the government retirement benefit begins.