Does Social Security's WEP Rule Affect Widow's Benefits?

Jul 10 2019 - 11:54am

Hi Larry. I was a teacher in California for 15 years and currently self employed, age 62. I have been collecting STRS, the teacher’s retirement since age 55. My husband, age 75, passed way 6 months ago. Does the SS WEP rule affect widow’s benefits? I plan to work at least to age 67, 70 if I remain in good health but not sure when to claim the widow’s benefits. It’s all very confusing. I have tried your software but unable to input the STRS numbers. Any advise would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

No, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) does not apply to widow's benefits, but the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision does. Assuming that your STRS pension is based on your earnings that were exempt from Social Security benefits, what that means is any widow's benefits for which you would otherwise qualify will likely be offset by 2/3rds of the gross amount of your STRS pension (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf).

Our software if fully capable of handling cases involving both WEP and GPO, so it should definitely be able to help you determine your best strategy for claiming your benefits. If you're having problems using the software, please submit your question using an online contact form available in the help menu. One of our software experts with access to your data will then help you resolve any issues that you're having with use of the software.

Best, Jerry