Windfall elimination provision


Q. I worked for the government (Department of Defense Dependents Schools) as a teacher overseas in Germany from January 1969 to June 1984. I am receiving a government pension (my retirement) of $629 per month.

I was told at the Social Security office that my Social Security benefits would be reduced by two-thirds because I worked for the government. Until 1984, DoDDS employees were not allowed to pay into Social Security. I have paid into Social Security by working at other teaching positions and other types of work.

Is what the Social Security administrator said correct? Am I penalized because I worked for the government, and is my pension considered part of my Social Security, and after 15 years, am I to get just $800 a month (including Social Security) to live on for the rest of my life?

A. You are talking about the windfall elimination provision. If you are receiving a pension from a retirement system in which you didn’t pay Social Security taxes and have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security, your Social Security benefit will be reduced. To learn more about the WEP and how it applies to you, go to


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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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