Q: What are differences between Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO)?
A: While both the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) are aimed at reducing Social Security benefits for people who receive a pension from work in which they did not pay into the Social Security system, they differ in who they affect and how they impact benefits. You can get more information about WEP and GPO here.
Q: What are the stipulations for retroactive filing?
A: Retroactive filing is to file for benefits that you were previously entitled to. If eligible one can retroactively file for a benefit back six month or to full retirement age, whichever is greater.
Q: What is the earnings test?
A: Those who claim Social Security benefits prior to their full retirement age (FRA), and continue to work, are subject to the earnings test. A portion of their benefits are withheld, depending on their age and amount of earned income. In 2018, the threshold is $17,040 for a claimant between the ages of 62 and FRA. For every two dollars earned over that threshold, one dollar is held back in benefits. During the calendar year that the claimant turns FRA, the threshold becomes $45,360, and for every three dollars earned, one dollar is held back in benefits. After a claimant reaches their FRA, there is no earnings test.
Q: My client is divorced. Are they eligible to receive benefits from their ex-spouse?
A: If you are divorced, but you were married 10 years or longer and have been divorced for at least 2 years, you may receive benefits on your ex-spouse's record (even if he or she has remarried). Just like a married couple, a spouse may be entitled to maximum benefit equal to ½ of the number holder’s (NH) primary insurance amount (PIA) or WEP PIA (if the NH has a pension in affect). You must be unmarried, at least 62 years of age, or care for a child entitled to a benefit on their parent’s record.
If you have been divorced for less than 2 years, you may be entitled to a spousal benefit if:
- you are unmarried,
- you are at least 62 years of age, or
- you care for a child entitled to a benefit on their parent’s record, and
- your ex-spouse is at least 62 years of age and has filed for his or her benefit.