Q. I had 40 quarters paid into Social Security before I went to work with the Veterans Affairs Department. I have retired with 30 years’ service with the VA.  Why do I have my Social Security reduced by the windfall if I had 40 quarters already paid before federal employment?

A. It’s not a question of when you earned enough credits to be eligible for a Social Security benefit, only if you did. The law is clear. If you receive an annuity — in whole or part — from a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, any Social Security benefit to which you are entitled will be affected by the WEP if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.


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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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