Will My Government Employment Have An Effect On My Social Security Benefits?

Dec 7 2016 - 11:15am

I am 64.5; I started working at 16 paying Social Security until I took a job with the US Army, as a civilian explosives technician, in 1980. From 1980 until 1989, 9 years, I worked for the Army and then went on to work for the Department of Public safety/State Police as a civilian bomb technician in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until 1996, a period of 6 years. I moved on, after I’d had enough, to a normal life once again.
In 2002, I got a divorce, needed cash, and cashed out of both the federal and state pension systems. At that time I paid the taxes, a lot of Taxes on that payout.
My question is will my government employment have an effect on my Social Security when I retire, most likely at age 70?


It doesn't sound like it. If you forfeited your right to pensions based on your government work prior to becoming eligible for the pensions, and only received a refund of your contributions plus interest, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) shouldn't apply in your case.

In some cases, people are given an option to receive a lump sum payment in lieu of a monthly pension, and WEP does apply in those situations. Unless that's what you mean by 'cashing out' of your pension plans, you should be okay.

For more information on WEP applicability, refer to the following section of Social Security's operations manual: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0300605364.

Best, Jerry