Windfall elimination provision


Q. I worked for the federal government from 1966 to 1969 and from 1981 to 1985. I did not pay Social Security. I returned to work in 1988 and worked until 2010 and did pay Social Security. I was told by a girl at a Social Security office that I am not under the windfall elimination provision because I didn’t make enough money, yet another office tells me that because I worked for six years without paying SS, I am under the WEP. I am very confused.

Should my Social Security benefits be calculated under the WEP? If they are, do they include my earning for the six years I didn’t pay SS?

A. The windfall elimination provision applies to the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity — in whole or part — from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes. The WEP will reduce — but not eliminate — your Social Security benefit if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.


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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