Q: A Civil Service Retirement System employee recently retired and was told by a representative of the Social Security Administration that because he qualified for Social Security after he retired under CSRS he would not be affected by the windfall elimination provision. The rep said that he is only affected by the WEP if he had his 40 quarters during or before his CSRS employment. I can’t find any documentation supporting this.
A: The SSA rep was confusing the windfall elimination provision with what’s often referred to as “Catch 62.” The WEP applies to the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes, such as CSRS, and has fewer then 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. The WEP applies no matter when a retiree qualifies for a Social Security benefit. On the other hand, Catch 62 applies to CSRS retirees who didn’t make a deposit for their active-duty military service and are eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62 or when they retire, if it’s after their 62nd birthday.