Final SSA Rule on Government Pension Offset Exemptions Effective July 15

By ASPPA Net Staff • June 29, 2015 • 0 Comments
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that it has adopted a final rule that revises its government pension offset (GPO) regulations. The rule will be effective on July 15. The final regulations are a revision of the language of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) the SSA issued on Aug. 3, 2007.

This final rule revises the GPO regulations to reflect changes to the Social Security Act made by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 and the Social Security Protection Act of 2004. These regulations explain how and when the SSA will reduce the Social Security spouse's benefit for some people who receive federal, state or local government pensions if Social Security did not cover their government work.

The revisions simplify language in a variety of sections of the NPRM. One substantive change is that it retains the words “receiving” and “received,” and does not replace them with the word “payable,” as proposed in the NPRM, since SSA considers variations of the term “receive” to be clearer. And in the final rule, the SSA has added definitions of the terms “government pension,” “noncovered employment” and “spouse’s benefits.”

The offset applies only to Social Security benefits as a spouse or widow or widower. Under the GPO regulations, Social Security benefits will be reduced by two-thirds of a government pension. In other words, if one receives a monthly civil service pension of $600, two-thirds of that, or $400, must be deducted from one’s Social Security benefits. For example, if one is eligible for a $500 spouse’s, widow’s or widower’s benefit from Social Security, one will receive $100 per month from Social Security ($500 – $400 = $100).

This also applies to those who take their government pension annuities in a lump sum.