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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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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