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Lane
Lane, JD,CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 10898
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial, Social Security & Tax advice since 1986
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MN pension enforcement impacts ability to collect on Social

Customer Question

MN pension for law enforcement impacts ability to collect on Social Security for pensioner but not exwife who collects half of State Pension. Exwife suggested I apply for married portion of her SS pension and Social Security states that can't be done.
I asked SS rep why I cannot apply for half of ex wife's SS benefit and yet she is able to collect her full SS and half of my State of MN pension???
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Lane replied 8 months ago.

Hi David,

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Yes, so sorry, but this is one of the biggest Social Security "gotcha's" out there.

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For someone who has worked under a non-social security system there are two different provisions of the law that affect.

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(1) The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), and

(2) The Government pension offset (GPO)

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THe WEP reduces your social security benefit that you may have, by having worked some years under social security.

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It's a fairly complicated formula that reduces the "third factor" the 90% of Average earnings, all the way down to 40% (for less than 20 years under social security) and up to 85% for 29 years under social security) ... If someone has a government pension and works a full 30 years in social security too, there's no rfeduction.

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The GPO reduces any spousal or survivor benefits that might be available from a spouse, for a person who had worked under a government (non-social security system). The formula's much simpler for this one. your spousal benefit is reduced by 2/3 of your own non-social security pension.

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So, given that the spousal benefit is at most 50%, if your own non-social security system were, say 3,000 (just to make the math easy) and the spousal benefit you would get from your wife were, say, 1000. ... then the 2000 reduction (2/3 of you 3000 non SS pension) would completely wipe out an spousal benefit ... and this happens a lot , in my experience with clients. (1) becasue the non-social security pensions tend to be good and (2) the spousal social security benefit is on 1/2 of the spouses benefit (and even less if you aren't at full retirement age)

Expert:  Lane replied 8 months ago.

Hi,

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I’m just checking back in to see how things are going.

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Did my answer help?

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If this HAS helped, and you DON’T have other questions … I'd appreciate a positive rating (using the faces or stars on your screen, and then clicking “submit")

I receive no crediting for the work here until you rate

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Thank you!

Lane

I have a law degree, with concentration in Tax Law, Estate law & Corporate law, an MBA, with specialization in finance & tax, as well as CFP and CRPS designations. - I’ve been providing financial, Social Security/Medicare, estate, corporate, both for-profit and non-profit, and tax advice on three continents, since 1986