Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elemination Provision (WEP) are two topics that have had an effect on my ER.
I began my teaching career at the age of 35 and was employed in the private sector prior to that time. I paid into SS for approximately 19 years. Most of these years involved full time employment. I retired at the age of 55 and began collecting a state pension.
I will receive my first Social Security check in two years. Because of WEP, my monthy SS benefit will be reduced by 52%.
DW received her first SS check in January at the age of 62. If DW should precede me in death, as a survivor I would be entitled to a reduced amount of her benefit because of GPO. I am entitled to receive her
monthly SS payment minus any amount that exceeds 2/3 of my
monthly state pension. When my pension is multiplied by 2/3, that number is greater than her SS payment. Therefore, the survivor benefit would be zero.
Conversely, if I should precede DW in death, she would be entitled to 100% of my monthly pension. In other words, she gets a better deal.
Fortunately, I became aware of GPO/WEP early on in my career and have made provisions for the consequences.
If you think you might be affected by WEP, below is a link to a very useful calculator. It helps to have your annual "Social Security Statement" handy if you would like an exact estimate.
Social Security Online: WEP Calculator
Also, below is a GPO calculator if anyone is interested:
Benefits Planner: Government Pension Offset Calculator