Social Security clarification

I have a client ( a couple, age 59 and 63). They both are eligible for government pension. They both have also contributed into the Social Security system. ┬áThe report that’s coming out of the tool shows zero spousal benefits. Why?

One thought on “Social Security clarification

  1. It is possible for spousal benefits to be zero. Here’s how it works: If an individual is eligible for spousal Social Security benefits and also for government pension, then his spousal benefits are reduced to Government Pension Offset or GPO provision. For example, John and Mary are a same age couple and their respective monthly Social Security benefits are $2,000 and $2,400. Let’s also say their respective monthly pension benefits are $2,000 and $1,800.
    In this case Mary’s spousal benefit before GPO = $1,000 (half of John). Her GPO = $1,200 ($1,800 * 2/3);
    So, Mary’s spousal benefits after GPO = $1,000 – $1,200.
    This means she won’t get any spousal benefits. Also note that Mary’s benefits on her own record will also be reduced due to Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) because she is earning a government pension.

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