TN 27 (07-13)

GN 02608.401 Applying Government Pension Offset (GPO)

A. Applying GPO

There is a required priority order for applying terminations, reductions, deductions, and withholding events to monthly title II benefits. Apply GPO in the order of priority according to GN 02602.025.

The GPO reduction also applies to the spouse’s benefit payable after age reduction, if applicable. For information about age reduction for a spouse or a widow(er), see RS 00615.201 or RS 00615.301.

The title II systems’ program applies the GPO as described directly below.

1. Spouse not entitled on own social security number (SSN)

If the spouse is not entitled to retirement or disability benefits on his or her own SSN, calculate the GPO amount and subtract it from the benefit payable as a spouse. For information about how to calculate the GPO amount, see GN 02608.100D.

2. Spouse is entitled on own SSN

If a spouse is entitled to retirement or disability benefits on his or her own SSN, he or she receives the retirement or disability benefit plus the difference (i.e., excess spouse’s benefit) between that benefit and the spouse’s benefit. For information about the amount of a retirement and spouse’s benefit, see RS 00201.002 and RS 00202.020 respectively. However, we apply GPO only to the excess spouse’s benefit as shown in the following steps:

  1. Determine the spouse’s own retirement or disability benefit.

  2. Determine the benefit amount as a spouse.

  3. Calculate the excess spouse’s benefit payable. For information about calculating the excess spouse’s benefit payable, see RS 00615.000.

  4. Calculate the GPO amount – 2/3 of pension.

  5. Subtract the GPO amount from the excess spouse’s benefit payable and round down to the nearest dollar to determine the benefit payable as a spouse.

  6. Add the retirement or disability benefit to the benefit payable as a spouse for the total benefit payable (TBP).

Example: The spouse’s own retirement benefit at Full Retirement Age (FRA) is $500.00; the spouse’s benefit at FRA is $1200.00. The pension amount is $600.10. The GPO amount is $400.10. For an explanation of FRA, see RS 00615.003.

Step

Calculation

Benefit Payable

a

$500.00

$500.00

b

$1200.00

 

c

$1200.00 - $500.00 = $700.00 (excess spouse’s benefit payable)

 

d

$600.10 x 2/3 = $400.10

 

e

$700.00-$400.10 = $299.90

$299.00

f

$500.00 + $299.00

$799.00 (TBP)

3. Claimant is entitled as a spouse on one SSN and as a widow (er) on another SSN

If the spouse is also entitled as a widow(er) on another SSN, the pension may offset one or both benefits. To determine the amount of the benefit payable as a spouse and as a widow(er) apply the GPO as shown in the following steps:

  1. Subtract the GPO amount from the widow(er) benefit first to determine the benefit payable as a widow(er). If the result ends in total GPO of the widow(er)’s benefit, there may be an additional amount left that would then be used to offset the excess spouse’s benefit.

  2. Calculate the excess spouse’s benefit payable. For information about calculating the excess spouse’s benefit payable, see RS 00615.000.

  3. Subtract any remaining amount of the GPO in step a. from the excess spouse’s benefit to determine the benefit payable as a spouse.

Example 1: The widow(er) benefit at FRA is $391.20; the spouse’s benefit at FRA is $741.20. The pension amount is $600.84. The GPO amount is $400.60.

Step

Calculation

Benefit Payable on Each Record

a

$391.20-$400.60 = -$9.40 (remaining GPO amount)

$0.00

b

$741.20-$391.20 = $350.00 (excess spouse’s benefit payable)

 

c

$350.00 - $9.40 = $340.60

$340.60

Example 2: The widow(er) benefit at FRA is $547.10; the spouse benefit at FRA is $715.50. The pension amount is $573.63. The GPO amount is $382.50. If the GPO amount is totally used to offset the widow(er)’s benefit, then subtract “0” from the excess spouse’s benefit.

Step

Calculation

Benefit Payable on Each Record

a

$547.10 - $382.50 = $164.60

$164.60

b

$715.50 - $547.10 = $168.40 (excess spouse’s benefit payable)

 

c

$168.40 – 0 = $168.40

$168.40

B. Other GPO considerations

1. Protection to benefits for a late filer under Section 202(j)(1) of the Act

Any benefit amount not paid to a spouse because of GPO is not “certified for payment” and therefore, available for payment to a late filer. For information about benefits under Section 202(j)(1), see RS 00615.760.

2. Family maximum (FMAX) cases

In FMAX cases when GPO applies to the spouse's benefit, we do not increase benefits to other auxiliaries entitled on the same SSN. For information about FMAX, see RS 00615.730 - RS 00615.770.

3. Effect of work deductions on GPO cases

We apply work deductions for GPO cases as follows:

a. The number holder (NH) works

Apply any work deductions for the NH only to the amount of the spouse’s benefit actually payable after we apply GPO.

b. The spouse works

Work deductions do not apply to a spouse who is subject to total offset. If the spouse receives a benefit based on partial offset and he or she works, the partially offset benefit is subject to the deduction.

c. A beneficiary other than the spouse works

Work deductions incurred by another auxiliary or survivor beneficiary may affect a spouse's or surviving spouse's benefit subject to GPO through:

  • the deduction before reduction provision; or

  • the facility of payment provision for benefits payable prior to January 1996.

If the spouse was receiving a partial benefit after GPO, he or she will receive an increase. If he or she was in total offset, some benefit may become payable (depending upon the amount of the pension) after redistributing the family maximum and reapplying the GPO. For information about the deduction before reduction and facility of payment provisions, see GN 02603.020 and GN 02603.075 respectively.

C. References

  • RS 00202.020 Spouse’s Benefits – Payment

  • RS 00201.002 Retirement Benefits – Amount and Non-Payment of Benefits – Policy Principles

  • RS 00615.020 Dual Entitlement Overview

  • RS 00615.250 Entitled to Reduced Spouse’s Benefit for Months Simultaneous With or After Entitlement to Reduced RIB (A then B or B with A)

  • RS 00615.150 Simultaneous RIB-WIB or RIB First (A/D or A then D)

  • RS 00615.170 Simultaneous Entitlement of a Widow(er) to Spouse's Benefits and RIB/DIB


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GN 02608.401 - Applying Government Pension Offset (GPO) - 07/07/2016
Batch run: 07/07/2016
Rev:07/07/2016