How CalSTRS and Social Security Benefits Work Together

If you are a teacher in California, the rules for collecting a California Teacher’s Retirement System (CalSTRS) pension and Social Security can be confusing and intimidating. They don’t have to be!

TRS and social security survivor benefits

Here’s a closer look at the rules on teacher’s retirement and Social Security.

In the 1970s and 1980s, laws were passed that amended the Social Security Act in an effort to keep individuals from “double dipping” – receiving both a Social Security benefit and a pension from work where they did not pay into the Social Security system. The results of these amendments are two rules that could impact your ability to claim a full Social Security benefit: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

These provisions reduce benefits for those who worked in a job in which they qualified for a pension and did not have to pay Social Security taxes.

Since your Social Security statement does not reflect the reduction in benefits thanks to your state-run teacher’s pensionit’s hard to know what to expect if you qualify for both.

The WEP rule only applies to individuals who are entitled to a Social Security benefit based on their own work history and have a pension from work where they did not pay Social Security tax. Meanwhile, the GPO rule only applies to individuals who are entitled to a Social Security benefit as a survivor or spouse and have a pension from work in which they did not pay Social Security tax.

Here’s a look at how each rule would impact your benefit.

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Your Financial Advisor’s Answer Should Be “NO!” To This One Question

That conversation is one I’ll never forget.

“Son,” he said with a slight chuckle, “In this business there are three people that need to make money.  The home office, the financial advisor, and the client. But listen, two out of three ain’t bad.”

Financial Advisor Sales Goals

I was a brand new financial advisor for one of the largest brokerage firms in the nation.  This “wisdom” was coming from a top producing veteran advisor.  Since he was very successful, and I was new, I was asked to shadow him for a while to learn how he did things. I’ll have to say, I did learn a few things. More than I expected or wanted to learn.

I knew that it was a sales job when they hired me.  It was clear that I would be expected to produce revenue and generate a profit for the firm. I didn’t have an issue with any of that.  What bothered me was what I had to do just to meet their sales quota.

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My 5 Most-Read Social Security Articles

2015 Edition

top 5 social security articles

Whenever I write an article, I never know if it will receive a few hundred readers – or a few thousand.

Sometimes I spend hours and hours writing Social Security articles that get very little traction – and I thought they were masterpieces! Other times, I’ll quickly whip up articles and they’ll receive a great deal of traffic. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for these results.

But you know what? Results speak volumes. My goal is to write Social Security articles that interest you, the reader. Over the past 12 months we’ve published 70 articles. Based on the number of readers, I discovered the following articles as the top five.

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Sound Retirement Planning Show

With Jason Parker

Guest on podcast and radio showI recently had the pleasure of being a guest with Jason Parker on the Sound Retirement Planning podcast and radio show. While the topic – Social Security – will not be a surprise to any of my followers, this show is a must listen even if this isn’t the episode for you.

In addition to hosting a successful podcast and running his own investment firm, Jason is the author of one of the best selling books on Amazon, Sound Retirement Planning.

Free Book?

While I was on the show, he made an interesting offer to his listeners. He’s actually giving his book away during the month of December! This isn’t one of those “limited time” offers that’s always going either. This book is for sale on Amazon right now for $9.95. Your price? FREE! Get your copy HERE.


I hope you enjoy this podcast and add it to your list of regular downloads.

Listen HERE.