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Old 05-04-2012, 10:36 AM   #81
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I am sorry - I am feeling as thick as you-know-what, but this GPO stuff is still eluding me.

DW (teacher) will earn a pension from a state retirement plan. About half her years of teaching, she worked for an employer that participated in SS and withheld/contributed accordingly. Her 2nd half of her career, she worked (works) for an employer that does not contribute to SS but has a 403(B) plan that is clearly supposed to mimic the SS benefit.

So with GPO, is it 2/3 of her state pension that the SS reduction is calculated from? Or 2/3 of her 403(B) annuity amount?

If pension amount, that will easily wipe out any spousal benefit.
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:54 AM   #82
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I have a 403(B) from my time working for a mega educational outfit. It seems more like a 401(k) than like SS or a pension. I can take a lump sum or buy an annuity with the money. I was not required to contribute; I elected to contribute and earned matching.

I will be surprised to learn that, too, will be subject to GPO or Windfall. I don't believe it is, but I am not certain.

I look forward to hearing from someone who knows the answer to this one!
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:33 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by EvrClrx311 View Post
I'm sure one of the following will work:

NMI - no middle initial (as someone pointed out above)
< space > - just hit the space bar and see what it does

If those don't work, then try putting a random letter in there. How about N for None
Ding ding ding, we gotta winner here!

The space bar suggestion worked, Thanks E and to others for their much apreciated suggestions
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:39 AM   #84
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Thank you for the link. It's interesting to see that the estimate for my benefit at 62 at the end of this year is only 1% higher than the paper estimate I received in Mid 2010. I ER'd 10 years ago so I have 10 years of zero's as income. My wife is already collecting SS and her payment went up over 3% this year. I guess SS uses a different index before payments are started (Wage index) and another index (CPI) after SS payments start. Does this discrepancy of utilizing different indexes continue if payment is delayed to age 70?
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I am not 100% sure, but I believe (hope) the wage indexing stops once you are first eligible to start collecting at 62, at which point the cpi indexing takes over. Where is jdw_fire, I'll bet he can answer this with certainty.
I'm not jdw but can confirm your understanding is correct.

Edit for clarification: you reach eligibility age of 62, your PIA is calculated, and from then on all increases are CPI only.
MB is correct however there is 1 little piece of info missing and that is that the wage indexing stops with the wages earned 2 years prior to when your PIA is calculated. in other words, wages earned prior to age 60 are indexed and wages earned from age 60 to 62 are not indexed for the PIA calculation. and finally once a PIA has been established (at age 62) it is COLAed via CPI.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:42 AM   #85
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I am sorry - I am feeling as thick as you-know-what, but this GPO stuff is still eluding me.

DW (teacher) will earn a pension from a state retirement plan. About half her years of teaching, she worked for an employer that participated in SS and withheld/contributed accordingly. Her 2nd half of her career, she worked (works) for an employer that does not contribute to SS but has a 403(B) plan that is clearly supposed to mimic the SS benefit.

So with GPO, is it 2/3 of her state pension that the SS reduction is calculated from? Or 2/3 of her 403(B) annuity amount?

If pension amount, that will easily wipe out any spousal benefit.
the GPO adjustment is based on any DB pension earned with income not subject to FICA
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:13 PM   #86
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Ding ding ding, we gotta winner here!

The space bar suggestion worked, Thanks E and to others for their much apreciated suggestions
awesome!
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:56 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by LRDave View Post
I am sorry - I am feeling as thick as you-know-what, but this GPO stuff is still eluding me.

DW (teacher) will earn a pension from a state retirement plan. About half her years of teaching, she worked for an employer that participated in SS and withheld/contributed accordingly. Her 2nd half of her career, she worked (works) for an employer that does not contribute to SS but has a 403(B) plan that is clearly supposed to mimic the SS benefit.

So with GPO, is it 2/3 of her state pension that the SS reduction is calculated from? Or 2/3 of her 403(B) annuity amount?

If pension amount, that will easily wipe out any spousal benefit.
It has been awhile since I looked into this, but since I (and my spouse) have SS covered earnings as well as non SS pensions, I have an interest. Here is a summary, to the best of my recollection, but I suggest you run the numbers for your situation.

The 403b does not influence WEP/GPO. This is a savings plan that is above/beyond the pension.

The person who earned the two benefits has their SS benefit reduced by WEP, subject to limits (maximum amount and 20-30 years of substantial earnings). The largest reduction is currently around $375, IIRC, but is determined based on when you hit 62.

If you are the spouse of this person and do not have any sort of non SS pension, you are eligible for spousal/widow benefits based on the non WEP reduced SS amount.

As a person who is eligible for a non SS covered pension, your SS benefit as a spouse/widow will be reduced. This is the GPO. The amount of this SS benefit reduction is 2/3 of your pension, up to 100% of the SS benefit.

Only the person who earned the non SS pension is subject to any reduction, WEP for their own, GPO as a spouse/widow. In all cases, first there is a calculation of the "normal" SS benefit based on earnings, age, etc. Then they apply the appropriate reduction.

LRDave - assuming you have all SS covered employment, DW's benefit is reduced by WEP, while any benefit she may be eligible for based on your earnings as a spouse/widow will consider GPO. There is no effect on your benefit.

It may help you think about it if you consider that WEP is directed at the dual earner, while GPO is not. A stay at home spouse who never earned any SS benefit can be eligible for a spouse/widow benefit. But if that spouse had a full career in a non SS covered position, they would be eligible for the same benefit if GPO was not introduced. That is what GPO is intended to address, IMHO.

Hopefully clearer, but hey, it is the government...
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:31 PM   #88
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It has been awhile since I looked into this, but since I (and my spouse) have SS covered earnings as well as non SS pensions, I have an interest. Here is a summary, to the best of my recollection, but I suggest you run the numbers for your situation.

The 403b does not influence WEP/GPO. This is a savings plan that is above/beyond the pension.

The person who earned the two benefits has their SS benefit reduced by WEP, subject to limits (maximum amount and 20-30 years of substantial earnings). The largest reduction is currently around $375, IIRC, but is determined based on when you hit 62.

If you are the spouse of this person and do not have any sort of non SS pension, you are eligible for spousal/widow benefits based on the non WEP reduced SS amount.

As a person who is eligible for a non SS covered pension, your SS benefit as a spouse/widow will be reduced. This is the GPO. The amount of this SS benefit reduction is 2/3 of your pension, up to 100% of the SS benefit.

Only the person who earned the non SS pension is subject to any reduction, WEP for their own, GPO as a spouse/widow. In all cases, first there is a calculation of the "normal" SS benefit based on earnings, age, etc. Then they apply the appropriate reduction.

LRDave - assuming you have all SS covered employment, DW's benefit is reduced by WEP, while any benefit she may be eligible for based on your earnings as a spouse/widow will consider GPO. There is no effect on your benefit.

It may help you think about it if you consider that WEP is directed at the dual earner, while GPO is not. A stay at home spouse who never earned any SS benefit can be eligible for a spouse/widow benefit. But if that spouse had a full career in a non SS covered position, they would be eligible for the same benefit if GPO was not introduced. That is what GPO is intended to address, IMHO.

Hopefully clearer, but hey, it is the government...
Thank you so much! That's the best rundown I've gotten so far.
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:43 PM   #89
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Didn't work for me- I don't have a middle initial but the system seems to require one...

I don't have a middle initial either. It worked fine for me without one.

omni
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:05 PM   #90
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Locked out for a second day. Two phone calls to the SSA, about a 3/4 hour in total, were unable to resolve but we did agree on my name and SS#. My options are 1) continue attempting to login ever 24 hours, 2) visit the local office where they will do something, 3) wait 'till I'm 60 when they will send a statement in the mail, or 4) send a written request for a mailed statement. I'll go with 1 and 4.
Third time's the charm. At the first attempt today I got this




Locked out for good. On the phone yesterday they confirmed my name is what I think it is, my SS# has not changed, and they use Experian credit checking to verify identity. I checked my Experian record and all is in order. Now I won't be able to check my SS record online to see if it has changed since I stopped working.

Sigh...
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:12 PM   #91
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Thank you so much! That's the best rundown I've gotten so far.
Thought of another point you might be interested in.

The reductions are based on what you COULD collect, not what you ARE collecting. In other words, delaying starting the state pension, or even withdrawing a lump sum, in order to not have a few years of SS subject to a reduction and collect more in the long run won't work. They thought of that.
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:37 PM   #92
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It's now possible to get an online version of the social security statement we used to get in the mail every year.

https://www.socialsecurity.gov/

They've added a section where you can see the total social security and medicare payments you and your employer made. Since a good half of my working life was at the much lower contribution rates, it looks like I'm getting a good return on my SS money unless the government decides I'm too "lucky" and cuts my benefits.
Thanks! Great info
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