Ask Larry

Can I Get Credit For Additional Years Of Substantial Earnings After I'm Age 62?

I'll be subject to WEP and am wondering if I can contribute past age of 62 (not yet receiving benefits) to have a few more years of substantial income counted toward the calculation.

Also, I would qualify at age 62 if all years were averaged until that point. Do you think that the bill is going to pass? S. 3401: Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2020


Yes. In fact, even if you're drawing Social Security benefits your benefit rate could be recomputed if you continue working and earn enough to increase your benefit rate. Social Security retirement benefits are based on an average of a person's highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings, and those years can be replaced by higher earnings years no matter how long you continue to work. And, if you have between 20 and 30 years of 'substantial earnings' as defined in the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), your benefit rate can be recomputed to give you credit for additional years of substantial earnings no matter how old you are when you have the earnings.

Bills proposing to amend or repeal the WEP and Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision have been introduced in virtually every session of Congress since those provisions were originally passed into law in the 1980s. The bills are usually sponsored by representatives from districts with large numbers of current and retired federal workers, and the bills never seem to receive much support from representatives from other districts. The WEP provision does affect non-federal workers as well as federal workers, but not in large enough numbers to put much pressure on Congress to change the law. Therefore, I'd be very surprised if either the WEP or GPO provisions are materially amended or repealed.

Best, Jerry

Mar 25 2020 - 3:37pm
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