Do I Have A Grievance?

Jan 25 2019 - 11:02am

I am a Federal retiree who also worked in private industry. I receive both a Federal Pension and Social Security.
In the latest issue of the AARP Bulletin, Jane Bryant Quinn states that your Social Security can't be less than
half of your Pension (see page 31 of the bulletin). My Social Security is 29% of my pension - do I have a
grievance since it is less than 50%?

Hi,

Probably not. I'm not familiar with the AARP bulletin you cited, but it's not accurate if it says that your Social Security benefit amount can't be less than half of the amount of your federal pension. What it should say is that the amount of any reduction to a person's Social Security benefit resulting from the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) can't be more than 50% of the person's other pension (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0300605370).

When WEP applies (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf), a person's Social Security retirement benefit rate is calculated using an alternate less generous formula. That can result in a reduction to the person's benefit rate of as much as roughly $460. However, there is a WEP guarantee provision that limits the Social Security benefit rate reduction to no more than 50% of the amount of the person's other pension. That means the WEP guarantee provision only comes into play in cases where the person is receiving a relatively low pension from their work that was exempt from Social Security taxes.

Best, Jerry