WEP and Social Security


Q. Can the windfall elimination provision completely wipe out earned Social Security? If that is the case, is there a legal way to avoid paying Social Security taxes when I retire and work outside of the government with the realization that I will never be able to recoup what I’ve already paid into the system along with future payments.  I worked many secondary jobs when I first started in the government and receive the usual notices from Social Security telling me that I am eligible based on that, but my limited understanding of WEP leads me to believe that I will lose my entire Social Security benefit when I retire under CSRS at $89,000.

A. Absolutely not! The windfall elimination provision doesn’t eliminate your Social Security benefit. It only reduces it if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings covered by Social Security. To see how your benefit might be affected, read the handy fact sheet at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10045.html.


About Author

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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