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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 35365
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 am 72 and receive STRS retirement benefits from teaching

Customer Question

I am 72 and receive STRS retirement benefits from teaching in California.
I was married 23 years and would like to receive my ex-husband's social security benefits due me.
Am I allowed to earn my retirement and his benefits at this age?
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. While the answer is yes, you are legally allowed to take both your STRS pension and an ex-spouse retirement benefit, your social security ex-spouse benefit will be reduced, and depending on the amount of pension you are receiving. Let me explain. 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=922This 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 up to 1/2 of their non-social security pension benefit would be applied (deducted) against any expected Social Security benefit. Because you have nothing to lose, and nowhere to go but up, there is no reason that you should not apply for your ex-spouse benefit, and it could result in you getting hundreds more each month in addition to your STRS pension. Retirement: You can apply online for your Social Security Retirement Benefit or an ex-Spouse Benefit at this site: http://www.ssa.gov/retirement/about.htm You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.Please remember to rate my service to you so that I can be compensated for helping you.I wish you and yours the best in 2015,Doug
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
This seems like a very crucial matter for you, and your questions and issues suggest that an in-depth conversation might better suit your needs. If you are interested, I can offer you a phone conference as opposed to continuing in this question and answer thread. I will make that offer to you after I get this posted to your question thread. All you need do is accept the offer if you would like me to call.Doug

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