Windfall elimination provision


Q. I have worked for the government in two different agencies. I worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 12 years under CSRS, which was followed by time in the U.S. Department of Commerce for the remainder. This includes four years of military service. There was a break of more than a year between the two. I was classified as being Offset CSRS in the Department of Commerce, but I have always paid into Social Security both in the Postal Service and Commerce. Shouldn’t I be exempt from WEP?

A. Because you had a period of service under CSRS – a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes – you were subject to the windfall elimination provision. When you worked for the Postal Service, you weren’t covered by Social Security. Any deductions taken from your pay were for Medicare Part A. Since your Social Security benefit was reduced, it’s because you had fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security. For more information about the WEP, 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


  1. I am collecting my husbands SSN, since he passed away. He was a Federal Worker and was receiving his full SSN benefit. He was CSRS. I am retiring soon and wanted to know if I can continue collecting his SSN. Before the law was changed that windfall comes into effect. He was grandfathered into the old system of receiving his SSN, why should i have to lose this money? I’m also CSRS. I don’t really think this is fair that I should lose it.

  2. I may not have paid SS when in the postal service but I did pay more than 30 years in my other jobs. I’m 78 so the postal system wasn’t the only job I ever held. I have paid more than 30 documented years of SS. This is certainly ridiculous in as much as in the Gov’ts own documentation and regulations it very plainly says as much.

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