Will a French pension impact a spousal and/or personal Social Security benefit?

Published: July 12, 2023

Full question: Hello, Martha — my wife receives a Social Security check that’s based partly on her earnings ($500/month) and partly on a spousal benefit that brings her monthly payment up to half of mine. She is eligible for a small pension from France for work that she did before moving to the US. The amount would be less than the spousal benefit. Would her Social Security payment remain unchanged because of the WEP because her additional income from France would be subtracted from the spousal benefit?

Hi there,

Thank you for your question about foreign pensions and Social Security benefits.

Your wife is receiving a spousal benefit, which is comprised of the amount of her retirement benefit and an additional amount to equal the total spousal benefit.

Foreign pensions are not considered as government pensions for purposes of the GPO provision so her pension from France should not affect her spousal benefit.

However, the pension can affect the retirement benefit portion of her total amount. If it decreases though, the additional portion would increase to remain the same total spousal amount.

If you would like to speak directly with an RSSA and get more personalized support, schedule a call here.

Take care,

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