Q: I elected to receive federal workers’ compensation payments in lieu of my federal annuity; I know I cannot receive both, and the workers’ compensation is a higher amount. I have also been receiving Social Security payments. Now the Social Security Administration has informed me that they’ve overpaid me more than $9,000 because, they say, the windfall elimination provision is triggered by my eligibility to receive the federal pension, whether I actually receive it or not. Information on the Social Security Administration website is ambiguous. In at least one place, they say the WEP applies if one “gets” a federal pension. In another, it says the WEP does not apply if one receives workers’ compensation payments. I plan to ask SSA for reconsideration.
A: The Social Security Administrations language is unambiguous: “The Windfall Elimination Provision affects how the amount of your retirement or disability benefit is calculated if you receive a pension from work where Social Security taxes were not taken out of your pay.” See www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10045.html.