Does The WEP Applied To My Benefit Also Affect My Wife's Spousal Benefit?

Dec 31 2018 - 9:31am

When my social security benefits were approved, WEP was applied. later when spousal benefits were approved it was half of my PIA. But the WEP calculators in the ssa site shows the spousal benefit as equal to half the 90% first bend point value which is far higher than what she is getting. Should my spouse also be paid with the WEP or is the calculator figure right?

Hi,

I've never used the calculator on Social Security's website, so I don't know why you received the results you describe. In any case, though, if your Social Security retirement benefit is reduced due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), any auxiliary benefits (e.g. spouse, child) payable on your record would likewise be reduced. Unreduced spousal benefits are calculated based on 50% of the worker's primary insurance amount (PIA), and when WEP applies to the worker's benefit rate then any auxiliary benefits payable on the worker's record are calculated using the WEP reduced PIA.

On a positive note, WEP does not apply when calculating survivor benefit rates. So, if you die before your wife and if she qualifies for widow's benefits, her widow's benefits will be calculated based on your full benefit rate without any WEP reduction.

Our software is fully programmed to handle all aspects of the WEP provision, so you and your wife may want to strongly consider using it to do your Social Security planning.

Best, Jerry