Bob: Why Doesn't My Spouse Qualify for Social Security Spousal Benefits?

Bob: Why Doesn't My Spouse Qualify for Social Security Spousal Benefits? ...

My wife was a Massachusetts elementary school teacher and received a state pension when she was 74 years old. My wife was asked about her spousal Social Security benefit, but she did not receive it until she was eligible for my full retirement age. By the way, she only gained a limited number of Social Security quarters before embarking on her teaching career.

Is this correct? Or have we missed out on years of spousal benefits because of poor information from a Social Security Administration employee?

David Freitag, a financial planning consultant for MML Investor Services, claims that the Social Security employee has reaffirmed that the readers wife was never eligible for a spousal benefit. The GPO is subject to an offset based on her earnings history as a teacher in Massachusetts, according to Freitag. (GPO is short for Government Pension Offset.)

The GPO is often referred to as the 2/3 rule. If you subtract 2/3 of her state pension from your full retirement age benefit, you will see that she does not qualify for spousal benefits, according to a professor. Her Social Security spousal benefit has been reduced to zero because of the offset.

Friday says the reader and his wife haven''t missed out on years of spousal benefits owing to poor information the employee was following the guidelines. The GPO offset rule was first introduced in 1983. Many of the guidelines we follow today were introduced when the Greenspan Commission recommendations were made into law.

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