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I am 66 and just about to apply for SS, but I realized I was…

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Hi: I am 66...

Hi: I am 66 and just about to apply for SS, but I realized I was going to have issues with the WEP. I have 20 substantial earnings years when I paid SS but I also taught for a State University where they had a pension instead of paying into SS. Also, I taught in Canada for 12 years and have a pension coming from CPP there. I am not exactly sure how all this work. How would the totalization agreement with Canada affect my benefits. Will they count those towards my total years of SS? Would I then lose my CPP from Canada? I am trying to figure out what the best way (most money) to go about applying. I have talked with SS but also know they don't always give the correct answers. Thanks, ***** ***** EUGENE

Accountant's Assistant: 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?

No, I think those are the big questions. thanks!

Submitted: 9 months ago.Category: Social Security
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Answered in 43 minutes by:
11/6/2017
Social Security Expert: lev-tax, Tax Advisor replied 9 months ago
lev-tax
lev-tax, Tax Advisor
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 33,340
Experience: Taxes, Immigration, Labor Relations
Verified

First of all - years you worked in Canada would be ONLY counted toward US social security benefits if you had less than required 10 years of working in the US.

But Canadian earnings will NOT be included into calculations.

Regarding WEP...

This provision affects you when you earn a retirement or disability pension from an employer who didn’t withhold Social Security taxes and you qualify for Social Security retirement or disability benefits from work in other jobs for which you did pay taxes.

Before talking about how WEP effects benefits - let start will how social security benefits are calculated in general.

The SSA bases Social Security benefits on your average monthly earnings adjusted for average wage growth.

Your average earnings is separated into three amounts and multiplied using three factors to compute your full Primary Insurance Amount (PIA).

For example, the first $885 of average monthly earnings is multiplied by 90%; earnings between $885 and $5,336 by 32%; and the balance by 15%. The sum of the three amounts equals the PIA.

Under the Windfall Elimination Provision the SSA will reduce the 90% factor in that formula to as little as 40 percent.

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
okay, so that will affect my state university years I guess, but how does it work for canadian totalization?
Customer reply replied 9 months ago
I would rather email back and forth. Could you explain how the totalization agreement will affect my social security benefits? Thanks.
Social Security Expert: lev-tax, Tax Advisor replied 9 months ago

Based on your information - in your situation - the totalization agreement will NOT affect your benefits.

The only effect will be based on WEP reduction.

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Social Security Expert: taxmanrog, Certified Public Accountant (CPA) replied 9 months ago
taxmanrog
taxmanrog, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 1,231
Experience: Licensed CPA, MA, MST with 31 years' experience. Teach Accounting and Tax courses at Masters level.
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Hi! Different expert here. I've been working with international taxation for over 30 years. I have seen this situation several times.

The WEP will affect BOTH your university pay AND your Canadian CCP (and RSSP if you have one). The totalization agreement that the US has with Canada only affects those who work in Canada while remaining on a US payroll. This eliminates the employee and employer having to pay into both the US and the Canadian social tax system. So unless you were teaching for a US university teaching in Canada, the totalization agreement will not apply to you.

But, as I said, if you have less than 30 years' worth of substantial earnings, you are subject to the WEP for both your state university pension as well as your Canadian pension.

Let me know if you have any further questions. As I said, this is an area that I specialize in and have a national reputation in this area.

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