Service, Social Security


Q. I have 40 years of service from a local Air District in the Bay Area in California, but I am short the 40 quarters by eight quarters. Is it worth working to get the 40 quarters?

A. Whether it would be worth the effort is something you’ll have to decide. Because you are (or will be) receiving an annuity from a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, any Social Security benefit to which you’d be entitled would be affected by the windfall elimination provision of law. The WEP would reduce – but not eliminate – that benefit. To see how the WEP would affect you, 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 retired from active duty military in 1995, but started taking my SS at age 62, 3 years prior to my retirement. I need to know if my wife will have an offset to her collecting my SS when she starts receiving her benefits from the military Survivor Benefit Plan when I pass. I am paying for her to receive 55% or my retirement, and she should be able to receive my full Social Security when I pass also. She is 77 presently and I am 83, with cancer, so surely she will outlive me, so I need to know if what she will receive is sufficient to her to live well. Her SBP benefits will be $1031 monthly and the SS should be in the $1300 range. I also have another SBP thru a company I worked for and retired which will give her approximately $300 monthly. She is scared of the Social Security Offset she keeps hearing about. Thanks

    • The government pension offset only applies to the Social Security spousal benefit of someone who is receiving an annuity from a retirement system where he or she didn’t pay Social Security taxes.

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