Windfall elimination provision

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Q. Does the windfall elimination provision disappear at full retirement age, or is it in effect at any time you take your benefits?

A. The windfall elimination provision applies to those who receive an annuity from a retirement system where they didn’t pay Social Security taxes. Those who meet that definition will have their Social Security benefit reduced if they have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.

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About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

8 Comments

  1. I retired under CSRS with 32 years and receiving annuity. I also worked other jobs before working for the federal government paying in social security. I started for the federal government in 1987 to 2011,?total of 32 years. During those 32 years I worked 2 sometimes 3 extra jobs paying in social. I paid my quarters in. Social Security determined I am permanently disabled as of June 15, 2016 but denied me disability payments because I worked for the federal government. I paid my social security in and don’t understand why I can’t get my benefits. I need to find a lawyer who can fight for me.

  2. William L. Corbett on

    You send a letter stating that my monthly benefit had changed to $588 on Jan 2016.But I only received $450 per month during that year,why the difference?

    • We didn’t send you anything. Therefore, your letter must have come from either the Social Security Administration or the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. You’ll have to check with the sender to find out why there is a difference.

  3. RUPERTO MAYNARD on

    I worked as a Civilian for the U.S. Army for 20 Yrs. as a Panamanian Citizen RESIDING in PANAMA.
    STARTED My CSRS Annuity in 1997.
    MOVED to the U.S. and paying S.S.A. since 1999. And Applying for S.S. Retirement in 2016.

    Why My SCRS annuity Benefits may affect My S.S. BENEFITS , when the previous BENEFITS was EARNED as another NATIONAL ( ABROAD).

    WHY OPM at the instance TAXES are withheld due to LOCAL ADDRESS they could not ADVISE to proceed on PAYING The SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION from my ANNUITY PAYMENT

    • The law is clear. Anyone receiving an annuity from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes will have his Social Security benefit reduced if he has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. There is no provision in law that would have allowed you to pay Social Security taxes while you were a CSRS employee.

  4. Mr. Jones:
    I am in real trouble and just maybe you can point me in the right direction. It is a very long story. I was supposed to be in CSRS Offset, but I was never offered the option when I went back into Civil Service after a break in service. I When I started CS I was in CSRS for approx. 8 years, then I had a break in service, for about a year. When I came back into VS HR put me in GET without giving me a choice. They never gave me a choice. So during my last year of working CS I decided that I would do my best to get back into CSRS. Well I got put back into CSRS Offset. I had worked all my life with a hearing impairment and in October of that year my hearing started deteriorating more and making it harder on me. But I have worked all my life with it and never thought about retiring on a disability. (I probably should have though). So I put in my retirement for the 31st of Dec 2011. My husband got sick, and he died in Feb. 2012. I discovered I could draw my husband’s AS as a widow. So I put in for my widow’s S.S pension. Meanwhile, some GS-9 from OPM put me back into GET A without my ok and said that whoever fixed my retirement problem shouldn’t have done that it was illegal. By now, I am tired of dealing with 4 retorments for my dead husband and SS and OPM, that I let it slide. I know now I should of went over her head and filed a grievance. So now I am back in FERS and I was contacted by S.S that I needed to apply for my S.S Disability because of my hearing and because of the side effects of polio that I had as a baby. So I have been drawing my S.S Disability (not really enough $1,100) approx, my little FERS Retirement about $756.00 a month, (ha ha), and low and behold without any warning, in the middle of July of 2017 I get paid half of my S.S. Now I can’t get an answer from S.S until 3 weeks later that all of a sudden that I fall under the WEP and I owe them 12,900.00. Also that they have been paying me too much money for my Disability. So I have filed a freeze to get a S.S big wheel to look at it and a week later I get a letter in saying that they received the paperwork and put a freeze on it and I will get $556.00 a month until they make up their minds well we didn’t get that, we got $176.00 for my payment. Because of all the mess, I am going to have to leave my happy home, turn off electric, gas, water and hope I find a place to live. I was going to sell it when I got good and ready, but now I have to freeze everything and hope I find a place to live. I had to put my name on a senior housing list with BUD like a poor person. I don’t know what else to do or go to. My girlfriend went to an attorney and it got dragged out for 3 years. What I want is to be put back into CSRS Offset w/disability and draw my SS Disability and not be penalized by WEP. I have had it.

    • Because you were covered by pure CSRS for several years, you were subject to the windfall elimination provision of law. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who is receiving a benefit – in whole or part – from a retirement system where he or she didn’t pay Social Security taxes and has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.

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