Retirement Security:

Public Pension Offset

GGD-92-15R: Published: May 15, 1992. Publicly Released: May 15, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Public Pension Offset, a provision of the Social Security Act which reduces social security benefits for those federal and other government retirees who are entitled to social security benefits as spouses of social security recipients. GAO noted that: (1) the offset provision reduces survivor benefits by $2 for every $3 of public pension received; (2) the purpose of the offset provision is to prevent spouses of social security recipients from receiving a full benefit in addition to their pension, which is not covered by social security; (3) Congress enacted the offset provision because of concerns over both the cost of paying social security benefits to thousands of newly eligible people, and the windfall nature of those benefits; and (4) there are arguments that can be made both for and against the offset.

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