Can Social Security Withhold What I Contributed Because I Have A Decent Savings Account?

Jun 12 2018 - 7:46am

This is my background. I am a 66 year old American citizen. I worked 26 years overseas so I was not able to contribute to Social Security Insurance during those 26 years. (I received a lump sum payment from the company I worked for. I do not receive a monthly check from that company.)
However I also worked 20 years in the states and paid into the SSI every paycheck. I am semi retired and plan to continue to work for as long as I can and will therefore have to continue to pay SSI.
My questions is this; am I eligible to receive as SSI benefits a monthly check or will they deny that benefit because I received that "lump sum?" In other words, can they withhold what I contributed to SS because I have a decent saving account???

Hi,

As long as you have 40 quarters of Social Security coverage (i.e. 10 years) you can be paid retirement benefits regardless of how much money you have in the bank. However, if you receive a pension or you received a lump sum in lieu of a pension that is based on work where you did not pay Social Security taxes, then your Social Security benefit rate may be calculated using a less generous computation formula.

The reason for this is the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). Although it sounds like the WEP provision may be involved in your case depending on the details of the lump sum you received from your former employer, WEP never reduces a person's Social Security retirement benefit rate to zero. For more information on WEP and whether or not it will apply to you, refer to this Social Security publication: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf.

Best, Jerry