Windfall elimination provision


Q. I worked from 1970 to 1984, then from 2005 to present (and still working) in the private sector. I worked for the Postal Service from July 1982 to December 2004, taking an early out with a reduced retirement annuity.

I have worked 22 years for the Postal Service and 23 years in the private sector. I want to know what I will face when I begin to draw Social Security, which I hope to do in December 2015, when I’m 62. At this point, I will have worked only 26 years in the private sector. Am I correct in having read something about needing 30 years in the private sector not to have my Social Security reduced?

A. You are referring to the windfall elimination provision, which reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system, such as CSRS, where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes and has fewer than 30 years of coverage under Social Security. To find out how your Social Security benefit would be affected, 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

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