Do You Count Social Security When Dividing Government Pensions?

by Michael F. Callahan

Most pensions, 401(k)’s and other retirement plans pay benefits in addition to social security.  They are not intended to replace social security and employees covered by these plans are also earning social security credits.

When spouses distribute these plans in a divorce, they still have their claim for social security, and no unfairness results.

But some federal retirement plans and state government plans do not supplement social security.  Instead they provide a retirement income without social security.  Both the employee deduction and employer contributions are higher, you do not pay social security taxes, and you are not earning social security credits.

When one spouse has a government plan that does not provide for social security and the other has a plan that does allow for social security, should the court make an adjustment for the social security benefits?   This series of articles will explore Maryland law on that question.