Q&A: When WEP doesn’t apply

Dear Liz: I am a retired police officer who worked for an organization that did not pay into Social Security or Medicare. During my career I worked side jobs and paid my own self-employment taxes to get my 40 quarters to qualify for Medicare once I reach age 65. I did have Social Security earnings for about eight years prior to my law enforcement career. My understanding is any Social Security I would otherwise be entitled to will be wiped out by the windfall elimination provision. The WEP calculator on Social Security’s website isn’t user friendly so I can’t tell if I will lose all or a portion of my Social Security to WEP.

Answer: Your own Social Security benefit won’t be wiped out. The windfall elimination provision can reduce your Social Security retirement benefit by up to half when you get a pension from a job that didn’t pay into Social Security.

By contrast, another provision called the government pension offset (GPO) can and often does eliminate Social Security benefits, but only those based on someone else’s work record, such as spousal or survivor benefits.

Also, you misunderstood how Medicare works. You need to work 40 quarters to qualify for a Social Security retirement benefit, but you can qualify for Medicare at age 65 as a U.S. citizen regardless of your work history.

Related Posts

  • Q&A: Lump sum or monthly payout? Dear Liz: I need advice on choosing between a lump sum retirement benefit and a monthly payout till death (with a cost of living […]
  • Thursday’s need-to-know money news Today's top story: Why playing the market right now is an especially bad idea. Also in the news: Is student loan discharge in bankruptcy […]
  • Q&A: How to deal with robocalls Dear Liz: As to the woman who receives robocalls, this is what I do. Almost all such calls come on my land line, which is now exclusively […]
  • Friday’s need-to-know money news Today's top story: The increase in identity theft makes checking your credit an absolute necessity. Also in the news: How to prepare your […]

Speak Your Mind