Windfall elimination provision


Q. I am 68 and retired from the federal government. My annuity payment is around $53,000 a year before taxes. I have 37 quarters.

The organization in which I worked most of my life didn’t participate in Social Security. We had our own pension plan, thus my 37 quarters.

How much would my monthly Social Security payment be had I earned 40 quarters?

I am not sure if I fall under the windfall elimination provision. How will I be affected? Will my SS check be based on how much I paid into the system? My first 20 quarters were earned when I was young and not making much money. The last 17 were in the last few years, when I was earning the maximum.

A. If you earned three more credits, you’d be entitled to a Social Security benefit. However, that benefit would be subject to the windfall elimination provision, which would reduce — but not eliminate — that benefit. To get a better idea of what your benefit might be if you had 40 credits, go to or use SSA’s online calculator.


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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