I am a CalPERS member. Will that affect my Social Security benefits?


The quick answer is it depends.  The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) may reduce Social Security benefits for anyone whose pension is not covered by Social Security that qualifies for Social Security based on other Social Security covered earnings.

In 1983 Congress passed the Windfall Elimination Provision to prevent employees who receive pensions from jobs that did not pay into social security from receiving the higher social security benefit calculation that is used for a long time low-wage earners.  The Social Security benefit for low-wage earners is a higher percentage of earnings than a worker with average or above earnings.   The WEP prevents workers from receiving a Social Security benefit representing a higher percentage of their covered earnings while also receiving a pension from a job that did not pay into Social Security. 

Not all CalPERS members are affected by the WEP and any reduction would be to your Social Security benefit, not your CalPERS benefits.   If you have at least 30 years of substantial earnings covered by Social Security you are not affected by the WEP.  If you have 20-30 years of earnings covered by Social Security the effect of the WEP will be reduced.  If you are affected and choose a lump sum benefit from CalPERS then Social Security will still calculate the reduction as if you had chosen a monthly payment.


The Government Pension Offset is like the Windfall Elimination Provision.  It affects those who receive a government pension based on employment not covered by Social Security and are eligible for a Social Security benefit based on your spouse.

Working with a CFP pro can help you better understand any changes to your benefits as they come and go. Having someone in your corner is invaluable when it comes to protecting your assets. Consider requesting your first initial meeting today

For more information on the Windfall Elimination Provision and access to calculators to see how you might be affected visit the Windfall Elimination Page on the Social Security website: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/wep.html

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