Ask Larry

Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO

Can You Help Me Understand Why The Social Security Administration Considers Me To Be Double Dipping?

I have a hard time understanding why the Social Security Administration considers it "double dipping" when I worked and paid into Social Security for many years and acquired my 40 quarters to be eligible for Social Security at retirement. I also worked for 16 years for Yuba County Dept of Social Services, where we did not pay into Social Security, but we paid into CALPERS.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022 - 15:54

Why Should My 401(a) Plan Be Called A Pension?

I am having difficulty discerning if a 401(a) in a no benefits part-time OPS (temp) position is considered a pension? It is the primary retirement product being offered but with no employer contribution. If it is is considered a pension and I am 1 year short of 30 substantial pay years, it seems I will have social security benefits reduced by what I save in the 401a plan. If 401(a) is more akin to 401K, why should that be called a pension?

Thank you, your assistance is deeply appreciated.

Monday, May 23, 2022 - 18:34

Am I Shooting Myself In The Foot By Working Where I Don't Pay Social Security Taxes On My Earnings?

I have approximately 33 years of full time work experience with continuous contribution into Social Security. I just took a job with a college that does not pay into social security and they are forcing me to set aside 7.5% of my pay to their 401(a) plan. They do not contribute to the plan at all. If I continue to work for them, am I a shooting myself in the foot and going to get a reduction in my social security benefit when I retire? Is WEP and GPO going to kick in?

Monday, May 23, 2022 - 16:07

Will WEP Cause A Major Reduction In My Totalization Benefit?

Hello. If I am collecting a totalization SS benefit using 36 US credits and 4 Canada credits will I see a major benefit drop subject to WEP if I worked part time and crossed the 40 US credit threshold? Thank you for your help.

Hi. No. The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) doesn't apply to totalization benefit computations (

Best, Jerry

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 - 12:30

Why Is Social Security Advising My Client To Apply For Her Own Benefit If She's Getting A Higher Widow's Benefit?

I have a client who has a state pension of around $3K monthly in the PERS system. The client was widowed a few years ago and at first the widow benefit was heavily GPOd. Then SS came back and awarded the full widow benefit of around 3K and advised the client to claim their own benefit at 70. The client has less than 20 substantial earning years and a benefit that is less than 1/3 of the widow benefit based on their own earnings record.

Thursday, March 31, 2022 - 17:00

Can You Confirm That The Lump Sum Payout I Received In Lieu Of A Public Pension Won't Affect My Spousal Benefits?

Both my husband and I are past FRA. He turns 70 in July and is waiting until then to claim in order to maximize his benefit amount. I am 67 and 3 months. I just filed my application for benefits, retroactive to 6 months ago (9/2021). I had 6 years of public employment in the 1980's and received a lump sum payout of my public employee pension in 2001, so I answered "no" to the questions about whether or not I am receiving a pension or expect to receive a pension for non-covered work, but "yes" to the question about receiving a lump sum payment for non-covered work.

Thursday, March 31, 2022 - 11:43

Why Can't My Mother Get Half Of My Father's Benefit Amount?

My mother (DOB: 1937) worked the minimum quarters for SS in private business and receives about $1600.00 per year in benefits which doesn't even cover the medicare costs. She has to pay for the difference for medicare. Mom then worked for the Federal Govt for 30 years and retired in 1990s. She is still allowed only to draw the very small amount of SS when a friend that never worked draws half of her husbands SS. My father worked for the State of Michigan so he gets a pension AND SS. Why the difference?

Tuesday, March 29, 2022 - 14:45
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