Most PERA members do not contribute to Social Security while they are working for PERA employers.* If you are eligible for both a PERA benefit and a Social Security benefit, your PERA benefit will never be reduced due to Social Security. However, two federal reductions may apply to your Social Security benefit leaving you with a smaller Social Security benefit or possibly no benefit at all. These federal reductions, the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset only affect your Social Security benefit.
Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)
WEP applies to PERA retirees who also receive a Social Security earned benefit. A Social Security earned benefit is paid to a worker who earned enough credits under Social Security-covered employment to qualify for a benefit.
WEP reduces the earned Social Security benefit using a formula that is based on earnings and payroll tax contributions to the Social Security system. In 2017, the maximum monthly reduction is the lesser of $442.50 or one-half of your PERA monthly benefit. For more information, view Social Security's Windfall Elimination Provision online fact sheet.
Government Pension Offset (GPO)
GPO applies to PERA retirees who also receive a Social Security spousal or widow(er) benefit. The GPO reduces the spousal Social Security benefit by two-thirds of the PERA benefit and may completely eliminate the Social Security benefit. For more information, view Social Security's Government Pension Offset online fact sheet.
Only the Social Security Administration has access to Social Security benefit records. The information contained in those records is crucial to getting an accurate determination as to how WEP and/or GPO may affect PERA retirees’ Social Security benefits. Social Security determines the reduction to an individual’s benefit, so it is important that you direct questions to Social Security and not PERA.
* A few PERA employers contribute to both PERA and Social Security, which means those employees may qualify for a Social Security benefit in addition to their PERA benefit.