Social Security, spouse benefits and the WEP


Q: I will be retiring in January with 31 years of federal service. I also have more than 40 quarters to qualify for Social Security. My wife will be applying for Social Security benefits when she turns 62 this January. When we retire, will she be able to collect her full Social Security benefit, and will I be able to collect my share of Social Security under the windfall elimination provision?

A: She will be able to collect her full earned Social Security benefit. When you apply for a Social Security benefit, it will, as you pointed out, be subject to the windfall elimination provision. Further, any Social Security spousal benefit to which you may be entitled will be affected by the government pension offset provision, which probably will reduce it to zero.


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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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