How Social Security works or doesn’t work for public school employees is always a big question. One reason is the tremendous misunderstanding regarding the offsetting provisions and the rights to spousal benefits. We are providing in this newsletter what we feel is one of the best analyses of the subject. The word “some” is key in the heading of this fact sheet. Most teachers and many local, state, and federal government employees pay into Social Security just like almost everyone else. In fact, about 70 percent of all local, state and federal government jobs (including teachers) are covered by Social Security. However, teachers in some states as well as some local, state and federal government employees do not pay Social Security taxes. If you will get a pension from a job where your employer does not withhold Social Security taxes, but you have paid enough Social Security taxes in other jobs to qualify for a Social Security retirement benefit (i.e., you have your 40 quarters), that benefit likely will be reduced because of your government pension. The law requiring this reduction is called the Windfall Elimination Provision. The same government or teacher’s pension will offset, and usually eliminate, any Social Security benefits you might be due on a spouse’s Social Security record. The law requiring this is called the Government Pension Offset. This fact sheet explains both laws.
Understanding Social Security Offsets
Educators are subject to the SSA's Windfall Elimination Program (WEP). Find out what that means.
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