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If my government pension is suspended or reduced, will my Social Security benefits increase?

En español | The answer to this question depends on what type of Social Security benefit you are receiving, and whether the pension is from "non-covered" government employment in which you did not pay into Social Security via FICA withholding from your paycheck.

If you are collecting both a Social Security retirement benefit based on earnings in "covered" work and a non-covered pension, your benefit payments may be reduced by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). About 3 percent of Social Security beneficiaries are affected by the WEP, according to congressional research.

Changes in the pension amount generally do not affect the Social Security benefit. However, if your government pension ceases and you are no longer entitled to it, Social Security may be able to increase your benefit.

If a person with a non-covered pension is receiving a spousal or survivor benefit, those payments are reduced by the Government Pension Offset (GPO). The GPO reduces benefits by two-thirds of the amount of the government pension, so if the pension payment is reduced, the Social Security benefit can go up. Contact the Social Security Administration to get estimates of the benefit impact.

Keep in mind

  • Pensions from work in which you did pay Social Security taxes do not have any effect on Social Security benefits. 
  • The WEP and GPO are primarily an issue for retirees from certain state and local government agencies that remain "non-covered." They do not affect federal employees  hired since 1984, when U.S. government workers came under the Social Security system.

Updated June 9, 2021

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