Can Your Software Calculate My Benefits?

Sep 16 2019 - 3:34pm

Hi Larry,

I'm very interested in purchasing your software and would like to ask if it will be able to calculate my scenario as detailed below?

I lived in the UK for a long time and now the US and do not have "full" retirement in either country, as far as I understand the definition.

UK:
State Pension -
Made 25 Years Full Contributions
Still have 10 Years to Contribute (make up contributions)
30 Years Is Deemed To Be "Full" Contributions

UK Contracted Out Pension-
I contracted out for a few years while working in the private sector. No earnings made from any government agency.

US:
Contributed 2001-2013 (48 credits)
No Contributions 2014-2018
30 Years Is Deemed To Be "Full" Contributions

Spousal Support:
Married More Than 10 Years to US Citizen

Totalization:
There is only one year when I worked part of Jan-mid Sep 2001 in UK and mid-Sep-Dec in USA.
Apart from that my contributions were 100% full years in either country.
Is totalization applicable in my circumstances?

GOP:
Only worked private sector in UK, no earnings from a Government agency (therefore no GOP is applicable to my UK earnings, as I understand it).

WEP:
I'm trying to calculate:
1. Should I make catch up contributions in the UK, is it worth it?
2. The amount of WEP reduction applicable:
a) Because I only have 48 credits
b) Because I receive two pensions from the UK
- how is the WEP reduction calculated?
If I receive £500 in total from the UK and my US Pension is $1800 before WEP, how much is it reduced?

If my husband's Spousal Support is more than 50% of my entitlement, can I simply opt for claim that (and my WEP reduced pension does not prevent me from receiving Spousal Support)?

Thank you for creating an opportunity to calculate how to maximize social security, as for me personally, it's pretty mind bending!

Best regards,
BB

Hi BB,

Our software only calculates U.S. Social Security benefits, not benefits from any other country. Nor is our software programmed to calculate totalization benefits, which is defined as a benefit that's based on a combination of credits from the Social Security systems of more than one country.

However, at least as far as U.S. Social Security benefits are concerned, it doesn't sound like you'd be eligible for a totalization benefit. If you have at least 40 quarters of U.S. Social Security coverage you can qualify for a Social Security retirement benefit based solely on your U.S. credits. In other words, your credits from the UK program would not then be combined with your U.S. credits in order to pay you a totalization benefit. My expertise is limited to U.S. Social Security benefits, though, so I don't know what type of benefits you might qualify for from the UK.

You could use our software to calculate your U.S. Social Security retirement benefit rate with or without a WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) reduction, but you'll need to enter your U.S. Social Security covered earnings and the approximate amount of your UK pension. By the way, your U.S. Social Security benefit will not be reduced by WEP unless and until you actually start drawing your UK pension or any other pension that's based on your earnings which weren't subject to U.S. Social Security taxes.

Foreign pensions don't count as government pensions for purposes of the GPO (Government Pension Offset) provision, so any spousal benefits that you qualify for from the U.S. Social Security system won't be subject to a GPO reduction if your only other pension is from a foreign government. Our software can calculate U.S. spousal benefits with or without a GPO reduction, but you'll need to input either your spouse's U.S. earnings or the amount of his unreduced Social Security retirement benefit.

You could only file just for U.S. spousal benefits without also filing your own U.S. Social Security retirement benefits if you were a) born prior to January 2 1954, and b) you file for benefits at full retirement age (FRA) or later.

The amount of reduction caused by WEP is limited to no more than basically half of the amount of your non-Social Security covered pension, but the reduction can be less than half of the amount of the non-covered pension depending on the pension amount. And yes, our software is programmed to handle WEP computations so it would be able to help you determine how much your WEP reduction would be depending on the amount of your UK pension.

Best, Jerry