Do Pensions Count As Earnings While Collecting Social Security?

This is a rather common question and one that requires clarity. Be advised that if you paid Social Security taxes at your job where you received a pension, it will not negatively impact the amount of your benefit payments. Conversely, if you receive a pension at a job where an additional Social Security tax was not paid this may reduce the amount of your Social Security benefits. This is called a Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). Some government agencies or international companies fall under this category

Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

To reiterate, if while you work(ed) for a company that does allow for Social Security withholding but instead provided a pension, the amount of that pension may reduce your benefit amount. In order to determine just how much your Social Security benefits will be decreased you can visit for more information. There are exceptions to the (WEP) and they include but are not limited to: you pension is only based on railroad employment, you have thirty (30) or more years of ample Social Security earnings, or you are a federal worker who was hired after December 31, 1983. Also, there is another provision of the law that may allow for a decrease in benefits for spouses or widow/widowers who were financially dependent on the income of their spouse at one point but worked enough to obtain their own benefits and that is the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

Government Pension Offset

If you worked for a federal, state, or local government and you received a pension that was not subject to Social Security withholding your spouse or widower’s may experience a reduction in their benefit payments. For example, the reduction will be two-thirds of the government pension. In other words, if you are to receive a $900 government pension, $600 has to be deducted from your Social Security benefit payment. Now if you are set to receive $700 spousal or widow benefit from the Social Security Administration, you will receive a monthly benefit in the amount of $100 from SSA ($700 – $600 = 100).

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