WEP calculations
September 12, 2018 | by Chris Stein, CFP®, Finance Instructor at Colorado State University
Calculation of WEP

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Question from reader: “I’ve been reading your blog and enjoy how far reaching on SSA it covers. That said I’m confused on one area and that is WEP. I’m 61. My non-SSA pension is $1298 a month. I have 28 years of substantial earnings. My age 62 SSA estimate is $1627 a month. Should I expect a reduction of $440 plus or $85 plus (estimate of 2019 amounts)?”

WEP is Complicated

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) is very complicated, so I understand your confusion.  For those unfamiliar with the basics of WEP, you can review our previous posts on WEP here:

http://www.helpwithmysocialsecurity.com/you-may-weep-because-of-wep/

http://www.helpwithmysocialsecurity.com/question-regarding-wep/

 

Years of Substantial Earnings is Important

In this reader’s case, they are subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision, which will reduce the social security benefit.  The maximum reduction that can occur in 2018 is $447.50 per month.  This reduction will apply to all those receiving social security and are subject to WEP and have 20 or fewer years of substantial earnings in the SS system.  This is where the 28 years of substantial earnings for this reader will help.  Once a person has 30 years of substantial SS earnings, WEP goes away completely.  At 28 years the WEP is reduced from $447.50 to $89.50 per month (again, in 2018 numbers).  The chart for determining the reduction that applies based on the number of substantial earnings years one has accumulated can be found here:

https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/wep-chart.html

 

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