Q: I am receiving compensation for Loss of Wage Earning Capacity from the federal Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. I expect to receive this compensation for the rest of my life due to a severe and permanent injury. Even though I was approved for federal CSRS Disability Retirement through the Office of Personnel Management, I never have, or expect to, receive any pension annuities because I choose OWCP compensation in lieu of any disability pension annuities. I will also be eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits in the future due to other employment. When I apply for these benefits, will the windfall elimination provision apply to me, even if I am not receiving any CSRS disability pension annuities? I have been told the windfall elimination provision will not apply because I will not actually be receiving a pension, but I have also been told the provision applies to me because, even though I am not receiving any pension, I have been approved for it and am entitled to it if I wish to accept it and no longer accept OWCP compensation.
A: The windfall elimination provision only applies to someone receiving an annuity from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes. As a compensationer, you aren’t receiving an annuity; therefore, your Social Security benefit won’t be affected by WEP. Were you to lose your OWCP benefit or elect instead to receive a CSRS annuity, the WEP would apply.