Windfall elimination provision


Q. I will be retiring in 2011 with 38 years CSRS from the post office. My wife will be retiring in a couple of years but most of her retirement would be Social Security. How would the windfall elimination affect us?  Even if we filed separately?

A. The windfall elimination provision applies only to the Social Security benefit of someone who is receiving an annuity — in whole or part — from a retirement system, such as CSRS, where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes. If you will be entitled to a Social Security benefit based on your own work record, the WEP will apply to you; if you won’t, then the WEP doesn’t apply. On the other hand, any Social Security spousal benefit to which you would be entitled based on your wife’s work record will be affected by the government pension offset provision of law. In most cases, the GPO will eliminate that benefit.


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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

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