PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEMPart GN – GeneralChapter 026 – PosteligibilitySubchapter 08 – Government Pension OffsetTransmittal No. 36, 04/05/2021
This is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure
Summary of Changes
GN 02608.100 Government Pension Offset (GPO) Provision
This POMS discusses Government Pension Offset (GPO). There are times when it may not be advantageous for a beneficiary to file for spouse's benefits. When that situation occurs, withdrawing an application is an option. The added language provides an introduction to withdrawing an application and a cross-reference to withdrawal policy.
If the adjustment of the GPO adversely affects the beneficiary’s benefit, please refer to GN 00206.001 to discuss the option to withdraw the application.
The Social Security amendments of 1977 (P.L. 95-216) include an offset provision to reduce the Social Security spouse's benefit of workers who receive a federal, state, or local pension based on earnings from non-covered government employment. The Government Pension Offset (GPO) applies to a spouse's Social Security benefit for any month the spouse receives a pension based upon his or her own government employment not covered under Social Security. For a definition of a spouse, see GN 02608.100B in this section.
Eligible means a person meets all the requirements for entitlement to benefits but has not filed.
Entitled means a person has applied for benefits and has proven his or her rights to them for a given period.
For GPO purposes, Government means:
Federal - The United States Government, including military service as explained in RS 01901.480.
State - The 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
Local - A political subdivision including wholly owned instrumentalities, but not including interstate instrumentalities. For a description of political subdivision, see SL 30001.316.
Offset is a reduction of spouse's benefits due to the receipt of a federal, state, or local government pension.
Partial GPO is the partial reduction of the spouse's Social Security payment amount because of the GPO calculation, but the payment is not reduced to zero. Two-thirds of the amount of the pension is less than the spouse's Social Security benefit payable.
A pension is a periodic or lump sum payment received from an employer’s retirement or disability plan, which is payable because of retirement or a permanent disability. The payment can be from either a defined benefit or defined contribution plan (e.g., 401(k), 403(b), or 457) and based upon the spouse’s non-covered earnings while in the service of a federal, state, or local government.
A spouse is any wife, widow, husband, widower, divorced wife or husband, surviving divorced wife or husband, mother, father, surviving divorced mother or father, young husband or wife who has a child of the numberholder in care, or a deemed spouse.
Total GPO is the reduction of the spouse's Social Security payment amount to zero because of the GPO calculation. Two-thirds of the pension is equal to or more than the spouse's Social Security benefit payable.
The GPO applies to a spouse’s benefit for any month the spouse receives a pension based on his or her government employment not covered under Social Security.
The GPO applies for the month the pension is payable for, not the month the spouse actually receives the payment. For GPO, the pension payments may be periodic, in a lump sum, or a combination of both.
The GPO applies only to the portion of the pension based on government employment for pensions based on a combination of government (not private) and private (non-government) employment. For information about pension payments that may be based both on government and private employment, see GN 02608.400C.2.
If the adjustment of the GPO adversely affects the beneficiary’s benefit, please refer to GN
00206.001 to discuss the option to withdraw the application.
If payment is made in a lump sum, proration applies as though it is received monthly over a lifetime, or if applicable, over a specific period as explained in GN 02608.400D.
Exceptions to GPO may apply as explained in GN 02608.101 through GN 02608.107.
If the spouse is entitled to retirement (RIB) or disability (DIB) benefits on his or her own social security number, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) may be applicable to the computation of the primary insurance amount (PIA) on his or her RIB or DIB record. For more information about WEP, see RS 00605.360.
Do not apply GPO when:
The pension payer suspends the pension to the beneficiary because of a return to work (i.e., the beneficiary is not receiving a pension), or
The entitlement to the pension ends or terminates, the pension is not payable, and the beneficiary is no longer receiving a pension.
Obtain evidence of a pension suspension or termination from the pension payer.
If the beneficiary starts receiving a pension again, develop for GPO.
To determine the amount of the monthly pension and the months for which it is payable, see GN 02608.400.
The GPO amount is two-thirds the amount of the monthly pension rounded up to the nearest dime for all months for which spouse's benefits are payable.
The GPO amount is 100 percent of the pension for spouse's benefits payable for November 1984 and earlier and two-thirds the amount of the monthly pension rounded up to the nearest dime beginning with benefits for December 1984.