Will my pension from the United Kingdom affect my U. S. Social Security survivor benefits?

Published: July 26, 2021

Full question: Prior to becoming a US citizen I lived and worked in the UK and paid National Insurance contributions. My husband passed away after we had been living in the US for a number of years and I receive survivor benefits (at age 63). At FRA I think I would qualify for a UK pension from the UK government based upon my years of contributions into the UK system. If I apply for this will it reduce my US survivor benefits as the UK pension will not be earnings based nor a pension from government work. I admit to being somewhat confused by what I’ve read about these.


There are two rules related to pensions and Social Security, the Government Pension Offset, GPO and the Windfall Elimination Provision, WEP. Also, pensions from work in the U.S. and foreign pensions affect those receiving Social Security benefits in different ways.

If you are collecting a Social Security dependent benefit, such as survivor or spousal benefits, your foreign pension from the UK will most likely NOT cause your survivor benefit to be subject to the Government Pension Offset, GPO rule.

Related to this is that retirees collecting their own Social Security retirement benefit and a foreign pension may have their Social Security income reduced by the other pension rule, the Windfall Elimination Provision, WEP.

In all these cases, working with a Registered Social Security Analyst can assure that you receive all the benefits you are entitled to. Schedule a free consultation here.

Take care,

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