Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)
If you are eligible for a pension based on work you did for a federal, state, or local government, a nonprofit organization, or in another country and you did not pay Social Security taxes, this pension can affect the amount of your Social Security benefits. This reduction is referred to as the Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP.
If you paid Social Security taxes on 30 years of substantial earnings, WEP does not apply to you.
Our WEP factsheet explains whether you might be affected.
How WEP Can Affect Your Benefit
If you think your pension will affect your Social Security benefit, you can:
The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) reduces your Eligibility Year (ELY) benefit amount before it is reduced or increased due to early retirement, delayed retirement credits, cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), or other factors. The following examples show how the WEP reduction changes when the ELY benefit is affected by other factors.
The monthly retirement benefits are increased or reduced based on your age after WEP reduces your ELY benefit.
If you turn 62 in 2019 (ELY 2019) and you have 20 years of substantial earnings, WEP reduces your monthly benefit by $463. (Refer to the chart below.)
Your full retirement age is 66 and 6 months. If your full retirement benefit is $1,396, your ELY benefit after the WEP reduction would be $933 ($1,396 - $463).*
If You Choose Early Retirement
If you start getting retirement benefits the month you turn 62, you will get benefits before you reach full retirement age. Your monthly benefit is reduced to 72.5% because you will get benefits for 54 additional months.
Your age 62 retirement benefit is $676 ($933 x 72.5% = $676) per month. If your full retirement benefit had not been reduced by WEP, your age 62 retirement benefit would have been $1,012.
If You Choose Delayed Retirement
You decided to wait to age 70 to receive benefits so you could get Delayed Retirement Credits.
Your eligibility year is still 2019.
If your retirement benefits start after your full retirement age (66 and 6 months) the benefit increases 8% for each year before age 70 that you delay retirement. If your benefits start at age 70, you get credit for the 42 additional months when you did not get benefits and your monthly benefit will be 28% higher.
Your age 70 retirement benefit is $1,194* ($933 x 128% = $1,194). If your full retirement benefit had not been reduced by WEP, your age 70 retirement benefit would have been $1,786*.
The COLA is added to your monthly benefit amount after WEP reduces your ELY benefit.
When you retired in 2019 (ELY 2019) WEP reduced your $1,396 ELY benefit to $933.
The following year, the 1.6% December 2019 COLA increased your benefit by $14 ($933 x 1.6% = $14). If it were not reduced by WEP, your benefit amount would have increased by $22 ($1,396 x 1.6% = $22). The new benefit would have been $1,418* instead of $947.
How To Use The WEP Chart
The chart is easy to use.
- Go to the ELY column to find the year you reach age 62 or became totally disabled (if earlier). If your birthday is on January 1st, use the year before you reach age 62.
- Go to the column that shows the number of years you paid Social Security tax on substantial earnings. The amount shown is the maximum your benefit can be reduced in your ELY because of the WEP.