How Does Social Security Calculate The WEP Guarantee Provision?

Apr 9 2017 - 6:15am

How does Social Security calculate the WEP reduction based on no greater than 1/2 of the portion of the monthly pension that is attributed to the non-covered work time? I had to retire earlier than planned due to a cancer diagnosis. My non-covered time is just a fraction of my total time that is included in my pension and it is part-time work (less than 1/2 time). It is calculated as a portion of my pension by the state agency that issued the pension at 13.5% non-covered. However, SSA reduced my pension by more than 50%. I filed an appeal immediately back in January and they set it aside without allowing me the face-to-face meeting that I had requested in the appeal. If SSA doesn't use the full time equivalent (FTE) of my non-covered time to calculate the WEP reduction what do they use? Thanks.

Hi,

The provision of WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) that limits the amount of reduction to no more than half of the non-covered pension is referred to as the WEP guarantee (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.07/handbook-0718.html). Social Security calculates the WEP guarantee reduction at 50% of the amount of pension that is based on non-covered earnings, so it certainly sounds like your benefit rate was reduced too much.

You did the proper thing by filing a timely appeal. The first step of appeal is referred to as a reconsideration, and you don't have a right to appear in person at the reconsideration level. However, the second appeals step is a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), and you do have a right to appear before the ALJ handling your case (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10041.pdf).

If you haven't received a determination on your reconsideration request, it may still be pending. You should probably check on the status with Social Security. If the determination on your reconsideration is unfavorable, you will have 60 days from the date of the notice in which to file for a hearing.

Best, Jerry