Ask Larry

Can Social Security Cut Out My Husband's Benefits?

My husband has worked in the overseas oil fields for years. He rarely paid SS because it was foreign companies. We invested and saved, knowing we wouldn’t have much SS. Now that he is retired, at 67, the SS is asking us to provide our IRA and other savings information. They said they might cut out his $1587. benefit altogether. Is this allowed?

Hi. There is a Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) that can cause a person's Social Security retirement benefit rate to be lowered if they also receive a pension based on their work and earnings that weren't subject to Social Security taxes. Payments received from defined contribution plans (e.g., 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plans) based on non-covered employment can be considered as a pension for WEP purposes if the plan is the employer's primary retirement plan.

I can't tell from the information in your question whether or not your husband's benefits will be affected by WEP, but even if WEP reduces his benefit rate it won't be entirely wiped out. WEP never reduces a person's benefit rate to zero. For more information on WEP, refer to the following Social Security publication: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf.

Best, Jerry

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Posted: 
Aug 18 2021 - 8:25am
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