Can my pension affect the amount of Social Security benefits I receive?

Maybe. A pension may reduce your Social Security benefits in two ways. The first way is through the “windfall elimination provision.” This provision applies to people who worked for an employer who did not withhold FICA (Social Security) taxes, such as a government agency, and who also worked at other jobs where they paid Social Security taxes long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits. It also may affect you if you earned a pension from employment in a foreign country. 

The second way your pension may reduce your benefits is the “government pension offset.” Due to this provision, your Social Security spouse or widow’s benefits may be reduced if you receive a pension from a federal, state or local government based upon work where you did not pay Social Security taxes. As a result, your spouse or widow(er) benefits may be reduced by two-thirds of the amount of your government pension. 

Certain exceptions to both provisions are available. To find out if your pension will affect your Social Security benefit amounts, contact the Social Security Administration office in your area or see the official Social Security web site at For information about the windfall elimination provision, see (last visited June 8, 2015). For more information about the government pension offset, see (last visited June 8, 2015).  

For more information, see: Social Security Online, (last visited June 8, 2015).