Benefit Offset

DEFINITION of 'Benefit Offset'

A reduction in the amount of benefit payments received by a member of a retirement plan which may result when the member owes money to the plan.

BREAKING DOWN 'Benefit Offset'

A benefit offset is intended to adjust the retirement benefits the plan member receives, given the overdue contributions the member should have paid in the past. Essentially, the overdue contributions owed by the member are deducted from his or her retirement payments to ensure they are paid to the plan. This type of offset can also occur if the member is receiving retirement benefits from sources other than the plan. The U.S. Social Security Act provides for the withholding of up to 10% of a plan member's benefits to compensate for funds owed to the plan.