I can't find information on this but, whatever it is, it's apparently keeping me from getting widow's benefits from my late husband... who worked all his life and paid into Social Security! He passed away on 12-27-09 at the age of 69, and I have been trying to get this straightened out (off-and-on) since the fall of 2010. I have been given various excuses over the years... starting out with the snippy remark "You're not a citizen!" Oh, YES I AM!! But the woman in that S.S. office wouldn't even LOOK at the papers I had as proof... she just kept shoving them back at me and parroted the same phrase! I was so upset and disgusted over the treatment I received, that I just dropped it; then, a few years ago, I tried again and got the runaround. In 2014, I tried again (to no avail), and this time the excuse is I am not eligible because of a Government Pension Offset!! I tried looking this term up online, but can't find it.
We were married 47 years, lived in Illinois and paid taxes. We both worked at the University of Illinois in later years, but my husband had earned plenty of points (or whatever you call it) while in private employment; I, on the other hand, had not worked long enough in the private sector, so didn't qualify for S.S. benefits on my own. However, everything I read indicates that I am eligible for widows benefits after his death! They asked me if I was receiving a "government pension"; well, the U. of I. calls it a "retirement annuity" (I guess it's the same)... but I can't get a plausible answer. Social Security puts you on interminable HOLD, and it took me FOREVER just to get my name and address updated!! Can someone please advise me? Thank You!!!!