Q: My husband worked for 13 years in the civil service and then left. He was a meat cutter WG-8 with the commissary system and that position was being phased out as well as the nearest bases to us being closed. He left the system in 1987 and applied at that time to receive his retirement contributions to use for retraining for another line of work. Since that time, he has worked as a tile contractor. Some years were good some were not. He will be 62 in a few months and went to the Social Security office to inquire about retirement benefits and was told that we are in the windfall elimination provision catagory and that hardly none of the years he worked counted as qualifying income, even those years he worked before he began working for the civil service. He was told that because of his government pension his Social Security would be only $249 dollars per month. Is this correct? What pension? We took the modest amount of his retirement contributions so that he could begin work in the tile trade. We have no pension from the government. Does this still count? Are we sill stuck in the WEP catagory?
A: Your husband was misinformed. The windfall elimination provision only applies to someone who is eligible for an annuity from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes. Because he took his contributions out of such a retirement system, he isn’t eligible for an annuity; and because he isn’t eligible for an annuity, the WEP doesn’t apply.