You may be years away from retirement, but it’s always a good idea to understand your potential sources of income in retirement.
TRSL members (excluding Plan B members) do not participate in Social Security, so they are not eligible for Social Security benefits through their TRSL-covered employment. However, some members may be eligible for Social Security benefits through their spouse or from another job in which they paid into Social Security.
Social Security benefits may be a major source of retirement income for you. However, under federal Social Security law, these benefits may be reduced upon receiving your TRSL benefits.
Social Security reductions if you receive a TRSL retirement benefit
If you will receive a retirement benefit from TRSL and you are also eligible for Social Security benefits from other employment, your Social Security benefit may be reduced according to federal regulations. Your TRSL benefit will not be reduced.
There are two types of Social Security benefits . The type of benefit you receive determines the formula used to calculate the reduction to your Social Security benefit:
- An earned benefit is paid to people who worked at other jobs where they paid Social Security taxes long enough to earn a Social Security benefit. It may be subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) reduction.
- A spouse's or widow(er)'s benefit is paid to spouses or surviving spouses of Social Security pensioners if those spouses did not work long enough under Social Security to have earned their own benefit or their earned benefit is less than their spouse's benefit. The spouse's benefit is generally one-half of the benefit paid to the Social Security pensioner, and may be subject to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) reduction.
- You can request a Social Security Verification Letter (which details your first eligible date of retirement) online through Member Access. Once logged in, select "Social Security Verification Letter" from the "My Self Service" drop-down menu.
- Or, you can request a letter by phone at 225-925-6446, toll-free (outside the Baton Rouge area) 1-877-ASK-TRSL (1-877-275-8775) or by email at ASK TRSL.
What is WEP?
The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) is used to calculate the reduction for a benefit you earned from Social Security. The WEP is a modified benefit formula usually used to reduce your own Social Security earned benefit if you receive a TRSL retirement benefit. However, your Social Security benefit cannot be completely eliminated. The WEP becomes effective when you reach age 62 or acquire a disability.
What is GPO?
The Government Pension Offset (GPO) is used to calculate the reduction for a spouse’s or widow(er)’s benefit. Normally, when your spouse retires on Social Security, you are eligible for 50% of their benefit if you are at least age 62. However, if you are eligible for a TRSL benefit, the GPO may apply. The GPO formula reduces your Social Security spouse’s or widow(er)’s benefit by two-thirds of your TRSL benefit. In some cases this offset could entirely eliminate your spousal Social Security benefit.
|There are exceptions to these offsets. Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) for more information: visit your local SSA office, call toll-free at 1-800-772-1213, or go to www.SSA.gov.
The Social Security Administration offers an online Retirement Estimator to help you get an idea of your projected Social Security benefits. This estimate is based on your actual Social Security earnings record. When you receive an estimate of your Social Security benefit, the amount probably will not have been reduced by either the GPO or WEP provisions. You should specifically ask Social Security to calculate the reduction for you. If you have basic Social Security questions, you may contact TRSL at 225-925-6446. Otherwise, you will need to contact Social Security if you have specific questions about your account with them.
Need more information?
What you need to know about Social Security and your TRSL retirement
Social Security & TRSL Benefits (brochure)
Social Security Administration