Shouldn't My Mother Be Able To Receive Her Maximum Social Security Benefits In Spite Of Her German Pension?

Feb 25 2020 - 2:08pm

Hi Larry,
I have a question on behalf of my mother. She worked 30 years in the US and about 10 years in Germany. She is 85 and receives social security from the US and Government retirement funds from Germany. However, although she paid quite a bit into SS they reduced her benefits significantly because of her Germany pension. Is this correct? Shouldn't she be able to receive her maximum SS benefits regardless of her Germany pension? She only receives about $600 per month from Germany.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Hi Sierra,

It sounds as though your mother's benefits are being reduced because of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). WEP can cause a person's Social Security retirement benefits to be reduced if they also receive a pension based on their work and earnings which were exempt from U.S. Social Security taxes, such as pension from work in Germany.

I don't have enough information about your mother's circumstances to know for sure if the reduction in her benefit rate is correct, but you can learn more about the WEP provision by referring to the following Social Security publication:

Best, Jerry