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Old 08-05-2017, 06:29 PM
1 posts, read 429 times
Reputation: 10


complicated question;
I paid into social security for 19 years, then transitioned to a state retirement "PERS" job that doesnt pay into social security. I will have worked the PERS job for 22 yrs. the WEP "windfall elimination provision" will consume a great deal of my FRA social security benefit. we are 55 now, wish to retire at 62, wait until 67 to receive social security.
My wife has worked whole life, will get approximately $2000 at 67 in social security. as her spouse, would I get $1000/mo in spousal benefit which will be more than my own social security after WEP reduction that leaves me about $500 per month on my own....would I get $1000 from her or have to take the $500 from my own ? or would the half I would get from her be penalized by my WEP the same so it could end up $500 either way?

seems like a rip off, I paid into S.S. for almost 20 yrs but seems like I won't get much in return from it.
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Old 08-05-2017, 08:01 PM
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I have bad news for you. In addition to WEP affecting your SS benefits, you are also subject to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision which affects what you can receive based on your spouse's SS benefit. GPO reduces your spousal benefit by 2/3 of your government pension. What that means is that if your government pension is $1,500, then your spousal benefit is reduced by $1,000. In other words, if you would have been entitled to $1,000 as a spousal benefit based on your wife's work history, you won't get a penny.
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:57 PM
Location: Out West
273 posts, read 182,026 times
Reputation: 564

The justifications for both the WEP and GPO are that since you weren't participating in the SS system, you got the benefit of higher take home pay for all those years you were exempted. So the "cost" of your pay boost for 22 years was a future claim to most of your, or your spouse's, SS. During my 21 years of public employment I paid into both the state retirement and social security, and it was a huge hit on my take home pay. Now, however, I'm seeing the dividend side of those low paychecks as I get a PERS pension and will be receiving SS in a few more years. The difference is that I worked in a state that doesn't exempt its state employees from SS.

With that said, I do think that state employers in "exempt" states should better inform employees from the start of their tenure with a PERS system about what they will be giving up down the line.

The link below explains the provisions in more detail:

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