Will My Benefits Be Increased When I Qualify For Spousal Benefits In The Future?

Mar 28 2019 - 8:52pm

I am 59 years old, and I plan to retire from teaching when I am 65 years old. I will be subject to the WEP for my social security benefits for the non-teaching wages earned. If I claim SS benefits at any time from from now until to my full retirement age, will those benefits be increased (applying spousal benefits additions) when my wife reaches her full retirement age (she is 8 years younger than I am, and 1/2 of her SS benefits at that time will be larger than my benefits with the WEP applied.

Thank you.

Hi,

Probably not. If your Social Security retirement benefits are subject to reduction due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), then any spousal benefits for which you would otherwise qualify would likely be subject to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf). Social Security spousal and widow(er) benefits can be subject to offset due to the GPO provision if the beneficiary is receiving a government pension based on their work for a federal, state, county or local entity that was exempt from Social Security taxes. The amount of the offset is 2/3rds of the gross amount of the government pension.

Therefore, any spousal benefits for which you may qualify for in the future would likely be offset by 2/3rds of the amount of your teacher's pension, which may very well reduce your spousal rate to zero. You and your wife may want to strongly consider using our software to fully explore and compare your options in order to determine your best strategy for claiming your benefits. The software is fully programmed to handle cases involving both WEP and GPO.

Best, Jerry