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15. Are there other Social Security Provisions Potentially Affecting Retirement?

Yes, there are two provisions that may affect those who are collecting a pension from SERS or PJERS and who were not covered by Social Security: the government pension offset and the windfall elimination provision.

If you are, or may in the future be, entitled to collect Social Security (either because of another job, or as a spouse, widow or widower), the amount of your Social Security benefits may be affected by your SERS or PJERS participation.

Government Pension Offset If an individual receives a pension from a government job in which he/she did not pay Social Security taxes, some or all of the member’s Social Security spouse’s, widow’s or widower’s benefit may be offset due to receipt of that pension. This offset is referred to as the Government Pension Offset, or GPO. The GPO will reduce the amount of the member’s Social Security spouse’s, widow’s or widower’s benefits by two-thirds of the amount of your government pension.

This law applies if the individual receives a government pension and is eligible for Social Security benefits as a spouse or widow(er). For more information about this provision, contact Social Security for the Government Pension Offset (Publication No. 05-10007) fact sheet.

Windfall Elimination Provision This law affects the way retirement or disability benefits are figured if the individual receives a pension from work not covered by Social Security. This Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) primarily affects an individual if he/she earned a pension in any job where he/she did not pay Social Security taxes and also worked in other jobs long enough to qualify for a retirement or disability benefit.

The Retirement Payroll Unit cannot answer questions on how Social Security may ultimately affect a pension: questions on these issues must be referred to Social Security. More information is available about the WEP and the GPO on the Social Security website.

Social Security Publication 05-10045, about the WEP, including how the modified formula works, is available at: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10045.html and Social Security Publication 05-10007, about the GPO, is available at: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10007.html

There is also a WEP and GPO Fact Sheet on the Social Security website which provides an online WEP calculator to estimate benefits taking the WEP into consideration. The fact sheet and calculator can be accessed at the following link: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/gpo-wep/

You can also contact the Social Security Administration at:
Web Site: http://www.ssa.gov

Toll-Free Number: 1-800-772-1213