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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 am a retired teacher in and have received benefits since

Customer Question

I am a retired teacher in KY and have received benefits since 2003. I went back to work and and now ready to retire from my present job as I turn 65 in Jan. '17. My estimated SS benefits will be $206. but I am a widow since 2003, and have not received my husband's SS benefits as his widow. The local SS office tells me I am not entitled to my husband's benefits. Should I get a lawyer to look into this for me?
JA: These retirement benefits are supposed to help us but they can be so complicated! The Retirement Expert will help you get the most benefits propertly. Is there anything else important you think the Retirement Accountant should know?
Customer: not at the moment
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 9 months 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. I have been a licensed attorney for more than 3 decades and I handle social security law. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. Did social security explain a reason why you are not entitled to a survivor benefit?

2. You have been receiving what benefits since 2003?

3. What is your estimated social security benefit of $203 benefit based on?


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
1.they were not clear but I gathered because I am receiving my retirement annuity from Ky Teacher Retirement since 2003.
2. Ky Teacher Retirement since 2003 and continued until my death(if the state of KY doesn't do something funky to take that away too.
3. My past work that I did from the time I was in college in the 70's working at a grocery store, and also working summer jobs while I was not teaching during summer months, and since 2005 I have been working as a Victim Advocate in the court system and will now receive a partial retirement from that job. I am planning on retiring from It Feb. 2017. I will only receive partial retirement as I only have 12 years in to KRS for 12 years.
Expert:  LawTalk replied 9 months ago.

Good morning,

Sorry for the delay. By the time you responded to me I had left my office for the evening.

The only reason I can see that you have been denied a survivor benefit is because the penalty applied to your application for a survivor benefit is significantly greater than the penalty that is applied to your collection on your own social security record. Let me explain.

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) reduction (which applies if you have a state pension and you collect on your own social security record) cannot exceed 50 percent of the amount of the pension received from non-covered employment (Teacher pension fund).

A related provision, the Government Pension Offset (GPO----which applies if you have a state pension and you apply to collect on a survivor benefit), reduces Social Security benefits paid to spouses or survivors when the spouse or survivor earned a pension from a government job that was not covered by Social Security. The GPO reduction is equal to two-thirds of the amount of the pension payment from non-covered government work (SSA 2012).

Right now, you are collecting only your teacher pension, and as much as 50% of that pension amount is deducted from your social security retirement benefit. If social security/Medicare taxes are not being taken from your pay while you are working in the court system, then the court pension will also then count against your social security entitlement when you begin to take that pension. If you paid social security taxes on your wages while working on the court system, then there will be no additional negative effect on your social security benefits.

I've not been able to do the math because you have not shared what your monthly teacher pension is, nor what you are entitled to from social security on your own record before the WEP offset, nor what benefit your deceased husband was receiving or entitled to receive at the time of his passing so I can't tell you for certain that you are not eligible for a survivor benefit. So, all I can do is presume that the 2/3 of your pension, which is the penalty for you taking a survivor benefit, would be greater than the survivor benefit itself, or at least leave you with a survivor benefit of less than you are receiving on your own record, and that is why you were told that you did not qualify.

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.

I hope that I have been able to fully answer your question. As I am not an employee of JustAnswer, please be so kind as to rate my service to you. That is the only way I am compensated for assisting you. Thank you in advance.

I wish you and yours the best in 2016,


Expert:  LawTalk replied 9 months ago.

It is possible that your questions and issues might be better served by an in-depth conversation with me. If you are interested, for a very nominal charge I can offer you a private phone conference.

Please know that I answered your question in good faith, providing you with the information that you asked for, and I did that with the expectation that you would act likewise and rate my service to you. If I have already provided you with the information you asked for and you have no additional questions, would you please now rate my service to you so I can be compensated for assisting you? Rating me costs you nothing as you have already paid the deposit for my help. All rating does is ensure that I am paid for my time in working with you.

Thanks in advance for your rating of my service, It is greatly appreciated,