My husband “retired” in 2003 from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office and receives a pension from the County. He has worked in private practice since then. How do I determine how much his social security benefit will be reduced when he retires at age 66-1/2? A second question: Since he will receive a reduced social security benefit because of the Cook County Pension, shouldn’t his current social security withholding from his paycheck be reduced? If so, how does he go about reducing his Social Security withholding? And, has he “lost” the excess social security withholding for the last 10 years he has been working in private practice? Thank You!
SAVAGE SAYS: Those are very good questions — and you will have to do a little personal research because each situation is different. Here is a link to the page at www.SocialSecurity.gov which describes how they “offset” benefits for people who have coverage from state/local pensions: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/wep.htm. And here’s a link to the worksheet that describes the complicated calculation that SS does to make sure you do not receive a “windfall” benefit from Social Security: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf
I definitely think you need to contact contact Social Security at www.SocialSecurity.gov, or by phone at 1-800-772-1213 to make find out your husband’s expected benefits — and how they integrate with the county pension — so you can do some income planning for retirement. Also be aware of possibly different formulas for cost-of-living increases in Social Security benefits, vs the pension.
While you’re at it, you need to find out whether your Cook County retiree health benefits will impact your Medicare coverage — and how much you will pay for each. This will be an interesting “detective” project. Please write back and let me know the results of your search. I’m sure others have the same questions.