Was It Correct For Social Security To Reduce My Mother's Benefits?

Jul 11 2017 - 8:06am

My mother is a Hungarian citizen and the green card holder in the US since 1999. She worked full time in Hungary for 40 years and retired there lawfully at the age of 62, and started receiving social security benefit from there. Hungary did not have any type of pension or retirements at the time she worked there, so there was no way to accumulate any savings. She moved to the US in 1999 and has been continuously employed since, first part time, then full time. She retired this month and was shocked to find out that her already low (under $700) social security benefits were reduced by over 40%, because of her Hungarian benefits. Can you please let us know if that is correct or if there are any revisions that we can rely on, and secure her some additional resources? Thank you!


Yes, it sounds like your mother's U.S. Social Security benefit would likely be subject to reduction due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). WEP causes a less generous benefit calculation formula to be used for people receiving a pension based on their work which was not subject to U.S. Social Security taxes (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf).

I'm sorry, but I don't have enough information to know if your mother could be eligible for any other type of Social Security benefits or other types of assistance.

Best, Jerry