Windfall elimination provision


Q. I will be 62 this month. I am a federal retiree and receive approximately $3,200 gross for my monthly annuity. My Social Security statement says I would receive $1,221 per month. I was a civil service offset employee as I had previous civil service from 1971 to 1975. I returned to federal employment in January 1987 and retired in January 2014. Will I be able to collect the whole $1,221 in Social Security benefits, or will it be reduced by the GPO? I’m confused because I’m reading about federal pensions and no Social Security was paid. I therefore paid into my retirement pension and Social Security for 27 years. Can you please answer this for me?

A. While the government pension offset provision won’t apply in your case, the windfall elimination provision may. If you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security, your Social Security benefit will be reduced. For more information about the WEP, go to


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. I worked for the Federal Government as a CSRS employee for 36 years, and I had 4 years Air Force before that–for a grand total of 40 years civil service. I’m considering filing for my social security benefits early, at age 62, but I’m wondering how much my benefit will be reduced, because of the WEP? I worked various part-time jobs on the side, while I was working with the government, like for the Army and Air Force Reserves, but I have a feeling that for most of my 36 years CSRS, I did not have “substantial earnings” under social security. On the positive side, I’ve heard that since I’ve re-married and still have younger children at home, 2 and 7 years of age, I will get some benefit for every child under the age of 18. I talked to a Soc Sec agent recently on the phone and she told me my un-reduced benefit of $510 will be reduced to $346, because I’m retiring early, but because I have over 30 years of earnings, I will “not” be affected by the WEP–and that was contrary information to what I’d always been told before. In my situation, can you clarify whether I will or will not be affected adversely by the WEP, since for many years of my work history I may not have paid a substantial enough amount into soc security?

    • You will be subject to the WEP because you don’t have 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. To see what constitutes “substantial earnings”, year-by-year, go to As for children’s benefits, they are only paid to the children of a deceased retiree.

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