FERS and UN service: Does WEP apply?

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Q: Most questions about WEP have centered around federal employees retiring under CSRS. I am a federal employee with 11 years of service under FERS. As a result, I have paid Social Security on my previously earned income. If I leave federal service now, I should get an annuity of 1 percent of the high-three, times the number of years of service. Figure about $11,000 per year.

I am considering accepting a job with the United Nations in Europe. Based on the literature, the United Nations income is paid on a “net basis” with the “gross-net” differential going toward funding a pension program. No money is paid to U.S. Social Security. When I look at the information from the Social Security Administration, it looks like I am subject to the WEP unless I have at least 30 years of income that has been subject to FICA. However, there is a clause that says that you are not subject to the WEP if you are federal employee hired after 1983. So, I am confused. Does the clause assume 30 years of service? If I take the job, will my U.S. Social Security be reduced due to the WEP (assuming I work at the United Nations for 20 years)?

A: Because you were first hired after Dec. 31, 1983, under a retirement system where you paid Social Security taxes (FERS), you are exempt from the windfall elimination provision.

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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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