Social Security and WEP


Q: The Social Security website on the windfall elimination provision, at, contains a list of exceptions to the applicability of the WEP. The first one states, “The Windfall Elimination Provision does not apply to survivors benefits.” It also does not apply if you are a federal worker first hired after Dec. 31, 1983. What is the nature of the exception for federal workers first hired after 1983? I accrued a Social Security exempt pension entitlement prior to first becoming a federal employee in 2007. Does that mean the WEP will not apply to my Social Security benefits when I reach retirement age? It seems contrary to other explanations of the WEP I have read.

A: The exemption applies to federal employees first hired after Dec. 31, 1983, because they were automatically covered by Social Security. Coverage under Social Security prior or subsequent to federal employment doesn’t exempt one from the windfall elimination provision, unless you have at least 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.


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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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