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I am a retired educator of 28 years in Maine. I am currently

Customer Question
receiving a pension from the...
I am a retired educator of 28 years in Maine. I am currently receiving a pension from the Maine State Retirement System. I have more than enough quarters worked to qualify for SS benefits. Why is it that I am being told that I have to take an 80% cut in what I would receive from SS ?
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 the Retirement Accountant should be aware of?
Customer: no
Submitted: 2 months ago.Category: Social Security
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
10/17/2017
Social Security Expert: lev-tax, Tax Advisor replied 2 months ago
lev-tax
lev-tax, Tax Advisor
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 30,331
Experience: Taxes, Immigration, Labor Relations
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To qualify for social security benefits - you must earn a certain number of credits to qualify for Social Security benefits.

The number of credits you need depends on your age when you apply and the type of benefit application. No one needs more than 40 credits for any Social Security benefit.

However - if you work for an employer who doesn’t withhold Social Security taxes from your salary, such as a government agency or an employer in another country, any retirement or disability pension you get from that work can reduce your Social Security benefits.

If you paid Social Security tax on 30 years of substantial earnings you are not affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

So because you have a pension from the Maine State Retirement System - you may expect that your social security benefits could be reduced.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
That doesn't seem fair. I worked for those benefits. Why should I not receive them ? Do I have any recourse ?
Customer reply replied 2 months ago
I do not need a phone call
Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Are you still there ?
Social Security Expert: lev-tax, Tax Advisor replied 2 months ago

Again - to have WEP not affecting you - you should have Social Security tax on 30 years of substantial earnings.

I agree that WEP might be not fair, but without WEP - that woudl not be fair for those who have only social security benefits - and there is no perfect solution...

How WEP works?

Social Security benefits are intended to replace only some of a worker’s pre-retirement earnings.
The SSA will base your Social Security benefit on your average monthly earnings adjusted for average wage growth.

They separate your average earnings into three amounts and multiply the amounts using three factors to compute your full Primary Insurance Amount (PIA).

For example, for a worker who turns 62 in 2017, the first $885 of average monthly earnings is multiplied by 90 percent; earnings between $885 and $5,336 by 32 percent; and the balance
by 15 percent. The sum of the three amounts equals the PIA which is then decreased or increased depending on whether the worker starts benefits before or after full retirement age (FRA). This formula produces the monthly payment amount.

For those whose primary job wasn’t covered by Social Security had their Social Security benefits calculated as if they were long-term, low-wage workers.
They had the advantage of receiving a Social Security benefit representing a higher percentage of their earnings, plus a pension from a job for which they didn’t pay Social Security taxes.

That is why Congress passed the Windfall Elimination Provision to remove that advantage.

Under the provision, the SSA will reduce the 90 percent factor in the formula to as little as 40 percent.

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