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Government employees who are in the SS system
Old 09-23-2013, 08:57 AM   #1
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Government employees who are in the SS system

While reading about the Detroit retiree issues I was surprised to learn that they did not participate is the SS system. I am wondering about public employees here. Did you participate in SS while employed or not? Would you have made a different choice if the option to participate is SS was yours?

I did participate in SS and am glad to have it, warts and all. It's another way to diversify my retirement income sources.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:19 AM   #2
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Have always paid 7% of my salary to the Civil Service Retirement System, which funds my eventual pension. I only worked about 10 quarters under SS (non-Government jobs), so won't qualify for SS. Same for Mr. A.

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Old 09-23-2013, 09:34 AM   #3
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Did two ~15 year government (local) gigs. In one, no SS. In second, SS was in play. IIRC local governments had option to not participate back in the 70's. I'm 62 and won't take SS until 70 in all likelihood but it is nice to know I will have it. Site says I'll get $2200 a month, but I'm not sure if that calculator knows I have a government pension which I believe will knock it back a couple of hundred dollars a month.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:39 AM   #4
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I've always been in the SS system, including with the federal government, as I started after 1/1/84. DW however has worked for a municipality for 20 years which does not participate in SS. While she has enough SS quarters from previous employment, the SS benefit is only about $200 per month, just enough to be a distraction. Her municipality does not have a pension, just 401a and 457. But I do feel bad for the workers in Detroit. They did not do the crime, but end up doing the time.

You would be surprised at how many working people are not in the SS system. One proposal to help support the SS system is to get these folks into SS. That was the purpose of putting the federal employees into SS back in the Reagan years.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:12 AM   #5
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I was a state government employee for 35 years and am currently receiving a pension. I contributed to SS in each of those years and will be eligible for benefits in 7 years. I also contributed to a 457(b) plan but don't plan to touch that for several years.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:22 AM   #6
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We were not able to contribute to SS, rather that money was directed to the state pension. I had about 33 quarters from various other non-career jobs, so I picked up the remainder through self-employment (mainly to qualify for Medicare, I'm not expecting anything from SS).
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
Have always paid 7% of my salary to the Civil Service Retirement System, which funds my eventual pension. I only worked about 10 quarters under SS (non-Government jobs), so won't qualify for SS. Same for Mr. A.

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Similar to Amethyst, I worked for the federal govt. under the CSRS system (1981 - present) during which time I did not pay into the SS system.

However, I worked several years prior to joining the Air Force in 1977, during which time I did pay into the SS system, so those years along with my 4 1/2 yrs military time gave me the 40 "quarters" I need to qualify for a small SS payment when I meet the age requirements at 62 (year 2020).

Between 1981 & 2010, I served in the Air Force Reserve, during which time I did pay into SS for all my weekend drills, annual tours, temporary duty (TDY) orders etc. However, in none of those years did the amount I paid into SS reach SS's threshold level for being counted as a "substantial" earnings year, therefore (as I understand it) I get no credit for any of that money that I paid it.

I believe that under the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) that applies to government employees such as myself and Amethyst...that I will receive somewhere around $250 when I start to draw SS at age 62. I am currently working for the fed, and at this time, do not pay into Social Security.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:32 AM   #8
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Like Amethyst and martyb I worked for the federal government. Unlike them, I and my agency paid into social security each year. I also paid into the new retirement system FERS. The total % income paid by the employee (employee share) toward CSRS and the total % paid toward SS+FERS is the same.

Since the early 80s, the Feds no longer offered a non-SS retirement option.

My husband worked for the State of Delaware. He paid into SS and small defined pension without COLA. (Legislature votes occasional increases.)
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:44 AM   #9
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Same here as Amethyst and Martyb. I am a few quarters short of SS from private sector work during college and jobs prior to starting with the federal government.
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:06 PM   #10
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DW is an educator in Michigan and she is in the SS system.
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:15 PM   #11
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Before anyone assumes they can get both their government pension and SS, they need to be familiar with the "Windfall Elimination Provision." I've attached a link below:

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf

Some my feel the title is not appropriate but those with toes in both SS and non-SS paying government pensions will suffer for it.
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:30 PM   #12
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DH worked almost 27 years for a county social service agency. He contributed to a public employees pension system. During his years of public employment he did not contribute to SS but did to Medicare. Outside of those public employment years he has 36 credits out of the 40 needed to get anything from SS.

We've talked about him doing some kind of part time work for those last 4 credits. If he does get enough credits he would get between $250 - $350 a month in SS after the WEP, depending on the age that he takes SS. For 2013 the maximum WEP reduction is $386. Certainly would be worth it to get those last 4 credits before he gets to 62.

Here's a link to the WEP calculator -
Calculators: Online Calculator (WEP Version)

Use the earnings from your SS statement. For DH's earnings in the future I used $5000 for 1 year just to simulate of he made enough for the 4 credits.
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:55 PM   #13
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I believe all my years working for the DoD were SS covered.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:52 PM   #14
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Between 1981 & 2010, I served in the Air Force Reserve, during which time I did pay into SS for all my weekend drills, annual tours, temporary duty (TDY) orders etc. However, in none of those years did the amount I paid into SS reach SS's threshold level for being counted as a "substantial" earnings year, therefore (as I understand it) I get no credit for any of that money that I paid it.
I believe you get credit, in that you have fewer years of $0 income applied to your SS benefit (granted, it's just a small increase). What you don't benefit from is that the year doesn't count as substantial earnings. If you amass 30 years of substantial earnings, your SS benefit is not reduced. You pick up 5% for every year over 20 of the first $768(?), of earnings.

I've worked for both a state, not paying SS and a local government, paying SS. Both pay into the same pension fund, so I get the cumulative benefit of both jobs in calculating my pension benefit. Working over 20 years of substantial SS earnings will get me to the 70% level under WEP.
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:28 PM   #15
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I believe you get credit, in that you have fewer years of $0 income applied to your SS benefit (granted, it's just a small increase). What you don't benefit from is that the year doesn't count as substantial earnings. If you amass 30 years of substantial earnings, your SS benefit is not reduced. You pick up 5% for every year over 20 of the first $768(?), of earnings.

I've worked for both a state, not paying SS and a local government, paying SS. Both pay into the same pension fund, so I get the cumulative benefit of both jobs in calculating my pension benefit. Working over 20 years of substantial SS earnings will get me to the 70% level under WEP.
No way I'll get close to 30 or even 20 years of "substantial service" for SS. I have 10 years. So...you're saying that all the years beyond the initial 10 that basically qualify me for SS but don't reach the "substantial' threshold will still count for something? I hope you're right, but that wasn't the way I've understood it to this point.
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:49 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by 2B View Post
Before anyone assumes they can get both their government pension and SS, they need to be familiar with the "Windfall Elimination Provision." I've attached a link below:

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf

Some my feel the title is not appropriate but those with toes in both SS and non-SS paying government pensions will suffer for it.
I am currently an active employee of the Federal government under FERS,
as such I pay into SS and have been told that I'll get a SS suppliment if I retire befor age 62 and that I can claim SS at age 62 when the suppliment stops.
Reading the above link just confirmes that for me with the part that reads:

The Windfall Elimination Provision does not apply if:
  1. You are a federal worker first hired after December 31, 1983;
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:59 PM   #17
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I have 17 years paying into SS and 10 years working for the Commonwealth of MA where I did not pay into SS. Instead I paid a mandatory 11% of my salary into a state retirement plan. I have also paid voluntary payments into the UK's equivalent of SS for the past 27 years. It's ironic that my UK state pension does not count towards WEP of my SS, but my MA retirement money will cause my US SS to be WEP'ed to the max.
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:59 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by chief04010 View Post
I am currently an active employee of the Federal government under FERS,
as such I pay into SS and have been told that I'll get a SS suppliment if I retire befor age 62 and that I can claim SS at age 62 when the suppliment stops.
Reading the above link just confirmes that for me with the part that reads:


The Windfall Elimination Provision does not apply if:
  1. You are a federal worker first hired after December 31, 1983;
Yep, that's correct. Since I started with the fed in 1981 after leaving the military, I AM affected by WEP. I also "bought back" my 4 1/2 years of military time so I picked up an extra 9% for my CSRS pension. Luckily I get to count that 4 1/2 years for both my military and CSRS retirements, since I retired from the reserves rather than active duty.
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:03 PM   #19
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I have never fully understood if WEP applied to me or not (I hope NOT). I have worked since I was 15 years old. First in part-time/summer employment when I was in school, then in the private sector for 13 years paying into SS the entire time, then for a state agency for 22 years where I paid into SS, state pension fund, 401K and 457(b). I now draw the state pension but not yet SS. Nothing in the pension paperwork ever said anything about a reduced SS and in fact, we were always told we can draw pension and SS when we retire (and told us how lucky we are). So, since I have always paid into SS, will I be affected by WEP?
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:12 PM   #20
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I have never fully understood if WEP applied to me or not (I hope NOT). I have worked since I was 15 years old. First in part-time/summer employment when I was in school, then in the private sector for 13 years paying into SS the entire time, then for a state agency for 22 years where I paid into SS, state pension fund, 401K and 457(b). I now draw the state pension but not yet SS. Nothing in the pension paperwork ever said anything about a reduced SS and in fact, we were always told we can draw pension and SS when we retire (and told us how lucky we are). So, since I have always paid into SS, will I be affected by WEP?
NO, WEP only come into play when you get retirement income from wages that you didn't pay SS on.
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