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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 27887
Experience:  I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience, including representing clients before the U.S. Social Security Administration.
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I was living in the US married to a US citizen, while still

Customer Question

I was living in the US married to a US citizen, while still working in Canada, paying in to Canadian CPP and nothing to US Social Security. I'm now divorced and retired but still living in the US, as a permanent resident (green card). Currently I'm collecting my Canadian work pension, plus half of my ex-wife's social security. We were married 29 years and she paid in to SS about 35 years. My question is what would happen to my social security if I started to collect CPP? I read about the "Windfall provision" would that apply?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. Are you presently eligible to take your CPP benefit?

Doug
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes, I can start collect at any time. Its the same system as in the US if you wait, the benefit increases up to age 70.

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon Eric,

I am familiar with the Canada pension program as I answer quite a few WEP questions.

You asked: My question is what would happen to my social security if I started to collect CPP? Yes, pensions from foreign governments that were earned while you earned income but did not pay into the US social security system during that time will be subject to the WEP when you start receiving your benefits.

If you will be receiving an annuity/pension payment from a retirement system where you did not pay Social Security taxes, you’ll be subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). The WEP will reduce your Social Security benefit if you have fewer than 30 years of “substantial earnings” under Social Security. Substantial earnings are greater than those required to earn Social Security credits. To see what substantial earnings are by year see this link:

http://www.canyonsdistrict.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=922

This is a very complex area of Social Security law, and therefore, I will point you to this excellent primer on the WEP:

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10045.pdf

Generally, if a person qualified for their non-social security pension after December 1, 1982, and they worked less than 20 years in a job where they paid social security taxes, then two-thirds of their non-social security pension benefit would be applied (deducted) against any expected Social Security benefit.

According to the Social Security Administration, substantial earnings is defined as an amount equal or above the amounts shown in the table below:

Year

Substantial Earnings

1937-1954

$900

1955-1958

$1,050

1959-1965

$1,200

1966-1967

$1,650

1968-1971

$1,950

1972

$2,250

1973

$2,700

1974

$3,300

1975

$3,525

1976

$3,825

1977

$4,125

1978

$4,425

1979

$4,725

1980

$5,100

1981

$5,550

1982

$6,075

1983

$6,675

1984

$7,050

1985

$7,425

1986

$7,825

1987

$8,175

1988

$8,400

1989

$8,925

1990

$9,525

1991

$9,900

1992

$10,350

1993

$10,725

1994

$11,250

1995

$11,325

1996

$11,625

1997

$12,150

1998

$12,675

1999

$13,425

2000

$14,175

2001

$14,925

2002

$15,750

2003

$16,125

2004

$16,275

2005

$16,725

2006

$17,475

2007

$18,150

2008

$18,975

2009-2011

$19,800

So, if your earnings from your Social Security-covered job are substantial according to the table above, it is possible to change the reduction factor, increasing it from the standard 45% – and even possibly eliminating it, depending upon how many years you’ve earned those substantial earnings.

As long as you’ve had those substantial earnings for more than 20 years, follow the table below to determine what your first bend point factor would be.

Years

First Bend Point
Percentage Factor

30 or more

90%

29

85%

28

80%

27

75%

26

70%

25

65%

24

60%

23

55%

22

50%

21

45%

20 or less


You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,

Doug
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The social security I'm collecting is based on my ex-wife's work record, which is 30+ years, I have of course 0 years. Would her 30+ years count, to eliminate the windfall?

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon,

No, her years do not count to decrease or eliminate your WEP impact, unfortunately. The WEP will effect you as soon as you begin taking your CPP.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,

Doug
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good evening Eric,

I wanted to thank you for using JustAnswer, and to inquire whether my answer to you was helpful to your understanding of the law, as regards XXXX XXXXXXXX.

Is there anything else that I can assist you with, please feel free to ask. If you do not require further legal information at this time, please feel free to bookmark my profile so you can request me when you do have another question. Here is a link to my profile: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-lawtalk/

Thank you very much and take care.

Doug

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