The Government Pension Offset Why It Should Be Repealed

Share this article

(This appeared in the March/April 2007 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Doug Holbrook, Director

During the last Congress, bills were introduced in the House and Senate to repeal the Government Pension Offset provision of current Social Security law. Although the legislation had many co-sponsors, it never made it out of committee for a vote in either chamber. In January, the bills were reintroduced in the House (H.R. 82) and Senate (S. 206). I encourage all retirees and active members to urge their representative and senators to support these bills.

If you need a refresher course, here’s why we must have legislation to repeal the Government Pension Offset:

If you retire from the postal service under CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System) and also are eligible for Social Security benefits as a spouse, former spouse or survivor, your Social Security benefits will be reduced because you are also receiving a pension from OPM (Office of Personnel Management) based on your earnings with the Postal Service that were not subject to Social Security contributions.

For every $3 you receive from your CSRS annuity, your Social Security payments will be reduced by $2. In most cases, the Government Pension Offset will eliminate the spouse or survivor benefits under Social Security.

The pension offset does not apply to employees covered by CSRS Offset or those who were hired by the Postal Service under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS),which covers employees hired after Dec. 31, 1983 . The GPO does apply to employees who transferred from CSRS to FERS, unless they had five continuous years of coverage under CSRS. Under Social Security law, however, anyone eligible for benefits under both systems is entitled to receive the larger payout of the two.

All CSRS (and CSRS Offset) employees who will have reached age 62 after 1985 and are eligible for a pension based in whole or in part on work for which they did not pay Social Security taxes will have a different formula used to calculate their benefits. Only those with 30 or more years of substantial earnings under Social Security will receive the full benefits; those with fewer years of substantial earnings will receive proportionally less.

If you have questions regarding your retirement benefits, you can contact the various agencies through the Retiree Department links.

If you have a change of address you must contact the Office of Personnel Management, PO Box 45 , Boyers, PA 16017. You also must contact the Retirees Department (877-APWU-NOW) to notify us of a change of address.

Please use your OPM-assigned CSA number when contacting OPM or APWU. The CSA number is assigned to all employees when they retire; all your correspondence from OPM will have this seven-digit number preceded by “CSA.”

New Chapter News

The Pittsburgh Metro APWU has applied for a charter for a local chapter for retirees living in the jurisdiction of the western Pennsylvania local. We welcome all the retirees from this New York Metro Area APWU retiree Eleanor G. Bailey and local President Clarice Torrance with Doug Holbrook. metropolitan area and look forward to a great and active chapter ... On Nov. 16, we presented a charter to the “Moe Biller Retirees Chapter for New York Metro.” Congratulations to our retirees in the New York metropolitan area.

Retirees Meet COPA Goal

Congratulations to all APWU retirees who gave to COPA in 2006. We raised a total of $204,774 for the union’s political action fund, which means we surpassed our department goal of $200,000. Congratulations, and keep up the good work! [2006 Report - PDF]

Stay in touch with your union

Subscribe to receive important information from your union.