Are Social Security spousal benefits reduced by the Government Pension Offset (GPO) if you receive a foreign pension?

Pensions

Full question: My wife is from Poland. She has a pension from ZUS. She is 68 and retired. She currently receives a small social security check. Will her spousal benefits be reduced by Social Security GPO?

Hello,

Yes, she will still qualify for full Social Security spousal benefits; her foreign pension will have no bearing on her eligibility for spousal benefits.

Foreign pensions are not considered as government pensions for purposes of the GPO (Government Pension Offset) provision, as specified in the first bullet of Section B, Payments That Are Not Pensions For GPO, in this reference from the Social Security Program Operations Manual.

Another consideration related to Social Security and foreign pensions is the Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP rule. Just as in the U.S., Social Security retirement benefits for retirees who have a foreign pension may be reduced by the WEP rule.

The SSA has a screening tool for WEP and foreign pensions to help you figure out if you will be affected.

Take care,
Martha

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