Q: I am a federal employee and I am also receiving Social Security benefits. I understand that when I retire and start receiving my civil service annuity, my monthly Social Security benefits will be recalculated because of the windfall elimination provision. At the time I started receiving Social Security, my number of years of substantial earnings for WEP purposes was 23. Because I am a Federal Employees Retirement System transferee, my current salary is subject to FICA. Will the years subsequent to the initial receipt of Social Security will be added to my 23 years? In other words, if I work and pay into FICA for five years after I started receiving Social Security, will my number of years of substantial earning for WEP purposes be 28?
A: It doesn’t matter where or when your Social Security credits were earned, only that you have to have 30 years (120 credits) of substantial earnings under Social Security to avoid the windfall elimination provision. The WEP applies to anyone who is receiving an annuity, in whole or part, from a retirement system, such as the Civil Service Retirement System, into which he didn’t pay Social Security taxes. To see what each year of earnings would have to be to qualify as substantial, read this WEP fact sheet.