Social Security: The Shocking Ways the Government Can Cut Your Benefits | Summary and Q&A

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June 11, 2014
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The Motley Fool
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Social Security: The Shocking Ways the Government Can Cut Your Benefits

TL;DR

The government can reduce Social Security benefits under certain circumstances, such as receiving a pension from a non-Social Security source, but this may not apply in all situations.

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Key Insights

  • 🚟 Social Security benefits can be reduced if an individual receives a pension from a non-Social Security source.
  • 💦 The Windfall Elimination Provision applies to an individual's own benefits, considering their work history under the Social Security system.
  • 🚟 The Government Pension Offset affects spousal and survivors benefits, reducing them based on the amount received from a government pension.
  • 💦 Working outside the Social Security system for more than 30 years may exempt individuals from the Windfall Elimination Provision.
  • 💦 The Government Pension Offset may still apply to spousal benefits, even with a long work history outside the Social Security system.
  • 🛄 It is necessary to evaluate both claiming options and consider the impact of these provisions on benefits.

Questions & Answers

Q: Will my Social Security benefit be reduced if I receive a pension from a school where I did not pay Social Security taxes?

It depends on the length of your work history under the Social Security system. If you have worked for more than 30 years outside of the school system, the Windfall Elimination Provision should not apply, and you should receive both your full Social Security benefits and the pension.

Q: How does receiving a pension from a non-Social Security source affect spousal benefits?

The Government Pension Offset can reduce spousal benefits by two-thirds of the amount received from the government pension. However, if you worked outside the Social Security system for a long time, it may not affect your eligibility for spousal benefits.

Q: Are the rules different for survivors benefits?

The Government Pension Offset also applies to survivors benefits. Social Security will reduce the amount you receive by two-thirds of what you're getting from the government pension.

Q: What should I consider when deciding between claiming benefits based on my work history or my spouse's work history?

It is important to do the math and evaluate what will work best for your specific situation. Consider the impact of the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset to determine the most advantageous option.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Some individuals may be surprised to learn that their Social Security benefits can be reduced if they receive a pension from a non-Social Security source.

  • The Windfall Elimination Provision may apply to reduce Social Security benefits if an individual does not have enough work history under the Social Security system.

  • The Government Pension Offset can affect spousal and survivors benefits, reducing them by two-thirds of the amount received from a government pension.

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