Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Windfall elimination provision

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Q. I am a 63½-year-old CSRS retiree with more than 32 years’ service. I spent five years with the Navy (1969-74) and paid back my military time before I entered the federal service in 1979. When I retired in 2007, I had 25 Social Security credits. I have been employed in the private sector since January 2008. I have more than 40 credits. My wife started collecting her Social Security benefits last year at age 62.

Will my Social Security benefits be affected by the windfall elimination provision or the government pension offset? Will my CSRS pension and my wife’s SS benefits prevent me from drawing Social Security (if I apply, which I intend to) before my full retirement age of 66? I plan to retire next year at age 64½. My SS statement says I’ll be eligible to collect $809 at age 66. Will I get part of this amount or nothing?

A. The windfall elimination provision reduces — but doesn’t eliminate — the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes. For the same reason, the government pension offset not only reduces — but often eliminates — any spousal or survivor Social Security benefit.

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