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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 34912
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 have been denied my late husbands social security, because

Customer Question

I have been denied my late husbands social security, because I have
Federal retirement and my own small security
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 7 months ago.

Good afternoon Winifred,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. 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. What can I help you with? What do you need to know?


Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I need to know whY am denied my late husband's social security.
I feel that it is his money, now going to me
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I am withdrawing my question - and I request that you credit my account with the $32.00
that was taken out because it was a free trial.
Thank you
Winifred Key
Expert:  LawTalk replied 7 months ago.

Good afternoon,

It is pretty clear that you were told why you were denied the survivor benefit. You say you are denied because you have a federal pension. When earning a federal pension you did not pay into social security while you were earning that pension and that pension then---under the WEP----acts as a set off against any social security benefi9t you can receive---be it your own retirement or a survivor benefit. 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 “substantialearnings” 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:

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

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, including a survivor 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


1986 $7,825

1987 $8,175

1988 $8,400


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

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.

I wish you the best in your future,


Expert:  LawTalk replied 7 months ago.

Does that sufficiently explain the legal issue for you?


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