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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 37639
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 a teacher pension. I was working as secretary of my

Customer Question

I have a teacher pension. I was working as secretary of my husbands company along with teaching full time at the time I retired. I was also paying social security from the secretarial position at the time. Why was I denied my husbands social security benefits at the time of his death? I had also paid full credits of social security through work before becoming a teacher.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

There is something in social security law known as the Windfall Elimination Provision which limits what you can receive of your own social security benefit if you also have a pension from an employer that you did not pay social security taxes while employed with.

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:

https://socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf

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

https://socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.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.

Here is a link to the explanation: https://socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/wep-chart.html

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Also, as for the survivor benefit, there is a similar law known as the Government Pension Offset.

Social Security reduces your potential survivor benefits by two-thirds of your government pension. In other words, if you get a monthly civil service pension of $600, two-thirds of that, or $400, must be deducted from your Social Security benefits. For example, if you’re eligible for a $500 spouses, widows or widowers benefit from Social Security, you’ll get $100 a month from Social Security ($500 – $400 = $100). Here is a link to an explanation:

https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf

In conclusion, quite simply you are getting so much as a pension from your teaching job that it eliminates your ability to claim a survivor benefit or your own retirement benefit from social security.

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.

Would you please take a moment to positively rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided by clicking on the rating stars---three stars or more. It is that easy. That is the way I am compensated for having helped you.

Thank you in advance. I wish you the best in your future,

Doug