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GPO and WEP – When Do These Apply?

In earlier articles we talked about the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). These two rules within the Social Security Administration’s procedures reflect reductions to Social Security benefits for receiving pension benefits from a job where your salary is not subject to Social Security withholding. Usually these are federal, state, or local government jobs, including teaching jobs at public institutions. The WEP applies to your own Social Security benefit and pension, while the GPO applies to your spousal or survivor’s Social Security benefit and your own pension.

The WEP may impact you if you are receiving a pension from a non-covered job and you also are qualified to receive Social Security benefits based upon your own record. The same holds true for Spousal benefits based on your record – if you are receiving a non-covered pension and your spouse is eligible for Spousal benefits, these can be reduced by the WEP as well. Survivor’s benefits and spousal benefits (where you’re receiving the non-covered pension and the Social Security spousal or survivor benefit is based on your spouse’s record) are NOT subject to the WEP. For 2022 the maximum WEP reduction is $512, but it can be much less (even eliminated) depending on how long you worked in the Social Security-covered job and how much money you made there.

The GPO may impact you if you are receiving a pension from a government job and are qualified to receive Survivor’s or Spousal benefits based upon your spouse’s or ex-spouse’s record. Your Survivor benefit may be reduced by an amount equal to two-thirds of the amount of your pension.

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