Windfall elimination provision


Q. I have 40 quarters of private-sector experience to qualify for Social Security. I will be 61 years old in October. I want to start collecting my Social Security at age 62. I am in CSRS. I had 30 years on June 3. Will I be able to get my full benefit of Social Security at age 62 and still work in my federal job?

Also, I have had problems figuring out how much I will eventually get from Social Security when I retire due to the windfall elimination provision. I have all of my earning statements from the Social Security office. Just can’t figure out the formulas. I would like to work to at least 64 or 65. I am a cancer survivor and feel it would be better to start getting as much of my SS as I can now rather than wait.

A. If you apply for a Social Security benefit at age 62, the amount you’d be entitled to would be less than if you waited until your full retirement age. If you were still working, that benefit would be subject to the annual earnings limit, which would reduce it by $1 for every $2 you earn.

The reduction would be $1 for every $3 until the month in which you reach full Social Security retirement age. After that, there wouldn’t be any reduction.

Once you retire, your Social Security benefit would be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP would reduce that benefit if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.

You can find out more about that at


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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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