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 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. 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 the pensioner's benefit. The spouse's benefit is generally 50% of the benefit paid to the Social Security pensioner, and may be subject to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) reduction.
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 reflect GPO or WEP reductions. You should specifically ask Social Security to calculate the reductions for you. To help with that, it’s a good idea to request a benefit estimate from TRSL to bring with you when you meet with SSA.
Need more information?
Social Security & TRSL Benefits
Social Security Administration