Ask Terry Questions social security with pension offset for surviving spouse

social security with pension offset for surviving spouse

By Terry Savage on March 15, 2024 | Wild Card

Hello and thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
I have contributed to social security for about 50 years both as an employee and as a self-employed accountant. I can’t seem to get a straight answer on the topic of whether my husband will receive my social security benefits if I predecease him.

He was a Chicago Fire Captain and his pension offset precludes most of his social security benefits. I am considering taking my social security at full retirement age (this month) instead of postponing because it is my understanding that my husband will not receive my benefits due to the offset.

I’m figuring that I shouldn’t wait any longer as my distributions will be lost if I leave the planet before him. Is that the correct interpretation?

Terry Says

Though the WEP does not directly impact Spousal Benefits of an individual, the Spousal Benefit is still reduced since the PIA of the other spouse is impacted.
But even more importantly, in this case, spousal benefits are NOT increased if the deceased spouse delayed into age 70, to get extra benefits. The “widows” benefit is calculated based on the full retirement age benefit of the deceased!

Which is a long way of saying that if this is an issue you worry about for your spouse, then go ahead and take your benefits at full retirement age. If you wait three years, you’ll get more of course –8% increase a year. But it won’t help whatever widowers benefits they calculate for him.



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