Will I Be Able To Get At Least Some Of My Social Security?

Aug 9 2018 - 4:03pm

My husband is 65 and I am 55, we are both working full-time. He is planning on applying for his social security when he turns 66 but will continue to work. I work for the Texas Ed Agency and have 19 years of service and I also have 10 years of service working outside of TEA. I keep hearing that maybe yes, maybe no I will be able to get some of my social security. I also heard that it may be better to resign from TEA instead of retiring and rolling over my TEA to my Roth and that way I can get both. It's very confusing and I want to maximize my benefits.

Hi,

I'm assuming from your description that your earnings at TEA are exempt from Social Security taxes.

Suffice to say that if you have at least 40 quarters of Social Security coverage (https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/QC.html), you will be able to receive Social Security retirement benefits in the future. However, the fact that you are also apparently eligible for a pension based on work and earnings that were exempt from Social Security taxes may well result you receiving in a lower Social Security benefit rate than you would otherwise get. That's because of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), which is explained in the following Social Security publication: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf. The good news is that the WEP provision never causes a person's retirement benefit rate to be reduced to zero.

The WEP provision would likely apply in your case whether you receive either periodic payments from your TEA pension plan or a lump sum in lieu of periodic payments. You might be able to avoid WEP if you withdraw only your contributions to the retirement plan (but no employer contributions) before you become eligible for a pension and if you give up all rights to a pension, but that may be less advantageous overall than just drawing your pension and your WEP reduced Social Security benefits. There are way too many variables involved for me to be able to advise you in that regard, but we have several software options available on our purchase page that should be able to help you sort things out.

Our software is fully programmed to handle WEP considerations as well as the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision that can affect spousal and widow's benefits. The software would also enable your husband to compare his filing options so that he can choose his best strategy for claiming benefits.

Best, Jerry