Will My Spousal Benefits Be Affected By WEP?

Jan 18 2017 - 4:15pm

I will reach FRA on June 4, 2017 ( I am not drawing Social Security). My spouse is 73 and has been drawing Social Security for several years. Her earning were not affected by GPO or WEP (she does not receive any non-covered pension). If I apply for a Restricted application to receive benefits based on her earnings record (and let my benefits accrue until I'm 70) will I still receive 50% of her amount even though my earnings would be affected by WEP when I apply on my own earnings record when I'm 70?

Hi,

WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) only affects the Social Security benefits payable on your own record, so it won't have any effect on your potential spousal benefits. However, if you receive a government pension based on work that was exempt from Social Security taxes, the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision may reduce or eliminate your spousal benefits.

When GPO applies, a person's Social Security spousal benefits are reduced by 2/3rds of the amount of their government pension. The 2/3rds offset doesn't start until the person becomes entitled to the government pension, though. For more information on GPO, refer to the following pamphlet: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf.

You may want to run the maximization software available on this website. It is programmed to handle both WEP and GPO, so it should help you determine your best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry