Would My Benefit Be Increased If I Claimed Under My Spouse?

Aug 13 2019 - 4:20pm

I'm impacted by the WEP and wanted to know if my benefit would be increased if I claimed under my spouse?
I was born in 1953 and my spouse in 1955.


The answer to your question depends on your and your spouse's relative benefit rates and the type of pension that is causing your WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) reduction. If you're already drawing your own Social Security retirement benefits and assuming that your spouse is still living, then you could only qualify for additional benefits from your spouse's record if your spouse's primary insurance amount (PIA) is more than twice as much as your PIA. A person's PIA is equal to the amount they would receive if they start drawing their Social Security retirement benefits at their full retirement age (FRA).

If your spouse's PIA is more than twice as much as your PIA, then you could be eligible for an additional spousal benefit of up to the difference between your PIA and 50% of your spouse's PIA. However, if the pension that's causing your benefit rate to be reduced by WEP is based on your work for a governmental agency (e.g. federal, state, local), then any additional spousal benefits for which you may qualify would likely be offset by 2/3rds of the amount of your government pension (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf).

Our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) is fully programmed to handle cases involving both the WEP and GPO (Government Pension Offset) provisions, so you may want to strongly consider using the software to determine whether or not you might qualify for additional benefits.

Best, Jerry