Is It True That I Can Only Obtain The Minimum Pay Out From Social Security?

Jun 11 2018 - 3:29pm

I have a private pension fund through the City of St Paul. When I retired in 2000, I was told I could only obtain the minimum pay out from SSA because of a Ronald Reagan ruling. Is this correct? I have been working since I was 16 as many others.My check every month is 291.00.

Hi,

Well, my assumption is that what you're referencing is the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). That amendment to the Social Security law was passed by Congress during the Reagan years.

The WEP provision can result in the use of a less generous Social Security benefit calculation formula for people who also receive a pension based on their earnings that were exempt from Social Security taxes. There in no minimum Social Security pay out, though. Social Security retirement benefits are based on an average of a person's highest 35 years of earnings on which they paid Social Security taxes. But, when WEP applies the calculation formula provides for a lower rate of return on a portion of the worker's contributions. For more information on the WEP formula and exceptions to the provision, refer to this Social Security pamphlet: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf.

Best, Jerry