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Will It Affect The Calculation Of My U.S. Social Security Benefits If I Receive A Canadian Pension?

I'm a Canadian citizen, born in Canada in 1957. I moved to the U.S. in 1983 to go to graduate school, and have been here ever since (and am now a U.S. citizen). I worked for several years (1975-83) in Canada prior to moving, mainly summer jobs, so I made contributions to the Canada Pension Plan, but not a lot. I am currently eligible for a little over $100/month from the CPP. I did not work for long enough to be eligible for the Canadian Old Age Security program; eligibility for that would require using US work history, but that makes no sense for me, because the payment would be around $157/month, as opposed to a much higher amount that I will be eligible for from U.S. Social Security based on my SS contributions. I have the following questions: If I apply for the CPP benefit, will it affect the calculation of my benefits that the US Social Security Administration makes? If the answer is yes, what effect would it have? Is my best course to act as if my limited, ancient Canadian work history does not exist?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.


Possibly. If you're drawing a pension from the Canadian Pension Program (CPP) based on your work and earnings, and assuming that your U.S. Social Security credits aren't used by Canada to entitle you to the CPP pension, your U.S. Social Security retirement benefit rate could potentially be lowered due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). When WEP applies, Social Security uses an less generous benefit calculation formula to compute a person's Social Security retirement or disability benefit rate. However, there is a WEP guarantee provision that limits the amount of reduction caused by WEP to no more than 50% of the person's non-covered pension amount.

I don't have enough information about your U.S. earnings history to know if you might meet one of the WEP exceptions, such as having at least 30 years of substantial U.S. Social Security covered earnings. If you meet one of the WEP exceptions, then your U.S. retirement benefit rate wouldn't be affected regardless of what other pensions you're collecting. For more info on WEP and it's exceptions, refer to the following Social Security publication:

Our software ( is fully programmed to handle WEP computations, so you may want to strongly consider using the software to do your retirement planning.

Best, Jerry

Dec 29 2020 - 5:24pm
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