Social Security Overview

TRSL members (excluding Plan B members) do not participate in Social Security. However, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits through other Social Security-covered employment or if your spouse paid into Social Security.

The Social Security Administration offers an online Retirement Estimator to  help you get an idea of your projected Social Security benefits. NOTE: The Social Security Administration has currently suspended issuing Social Security benefit estimate statements.

The Retirement Estimator gives estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. Please note these are just estimates, and will vary slightly from the actual benefit you may get in the future. If you have any questions, please visit your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213, for more information.

Social Security reductions if you receive a TRSL retirement benefit

If you receive a retirement benefit from TRSL and you are also eligible for Social Security benefits, 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: a spouse's or widow(er)'s benefit and an earned benefit. The type of benefit you receive determines the formula used to calculate the reduction to your Social Security benefit.
  • 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 the pensioner'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.
  • 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.

What is GPO?

GPO stands for Government Pension Offset. If your spouse participated in Social Security, you may be subject to the GPO, which results in a reduction for spouse's or widow(er)'s benefit. Normally, when your spouse retires on Social Security, you are eligible for 51 percent of your spouse's benefit if you are at least age 62. However, since you are eligible for a TRSL benefit, you may be subject to the GPO, which will reduce 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 Social Security benefit. There are some exceptions.

What is WEP?

WEP is the acronym for Windfall Elimination Provision. If you receive a TRSL retirement benefit and you worked long enough in other employment to qualify for a Social Security benefit, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) is usually used to reduce your own Social Security earned benefit. WEP goes into effect when you reach age 62 or become disabled, however there are some exceptions. TRSL recommends that you contact the Social Security Administration for explanations of possible WEP reductions.

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?

  Social Security & TRSL Benefits
  Social Security Administration
 


 

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