Will My Non-Covered Work Hurt My Divorced Spousal Benefit?

Aug 20 2016 - 10:45am

I taught school for about seven months (Aug 1974-March 1975) in a Texas school district that did not take out social security from teachers' paychecks. Will this affect my ability to take my divorced spousal benefit when I reach FRA in Feb 2018? I have more than 40 years of SSI credit besides my short time as a teacher.

My financial advisor said another client could not take her divorced spousal benefit because she had taught for 25 years in a district that did not take out social security for teachers.

In all other regards I do fully qualify for divorced spousal benefits - married more then 10 years, divorced since 2005, never remarried.

Best,
Lissa

Hi Lissa,

I assume that you'd need to work much longer than 7 months to qualify for a pension from the Texas Teacher Retirement System, although I don't really know what their rules are. Your work there won't matter as far as Social Security benefits are concerned as long as they don't pay you a pension.

People who do receive pensions for their work for government agencies that are exempt from Social Security taxes may have their Social Security spousal or divorced spousal benefits reduced or eliminated due to the Government Pension Offset Provision (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf). This is no doubt what your financial advisor was referring to, but it won't apply to you unless you receive a pension from your non-covered work.

Best, Jerry