Q: My mother started with the U.S. Postal Service in 1974. Due to health issues, she retired on disability (not based on age or years of service) with her annuity commencing in September 1992. Her husband died in March and was receiving Social Security. When she applied for survivor benefits, it took almost three months for the Office of Personnel Managment to get back to Social Security and we were told even at that point they did not provide the information originally requested. Social Security made the decision that the survivor benefits fell under the windfall elimination provision. We are not sure why this decision was made. My mother was eligible to receive a disability pension prior to December 1982, and her husband was self-employed with net earnings generally equal to hers. Is she under the WEP because she wasn’t eligible to receive a regular pension before December 1982?
A: The windfall elimination provision applies to anyone who receives a disability annuity from a retirement system into which he or she didn’t pay Social Security taxes and began receiving that annuity after 1985. For the official story, read this Social Security Administration fact sheet.