Social Security is different for teachers. It’s more complicated, and the rules aren’t always fair.
If you’re a teacher, when your turn comes to file for Social Security benefits, you may need to fight for what’s rightfully yours.
This topic comes up in my Social Security classes all the time. One thing is consistently clear from the comments of my attendees: the quality of information regarding the integration of Social Security and teachers’ pensions is very low. In fact, the misinformation is so bad that I sometimes wish these advice-dispensing individuals would just stop!
The Unfortunate Story of Mr. Franks
Here’s a recent example. Before Mr. Franks worked (and subsequently retired) as a teacher in the state of Illinois, he worked for a large telecommunications company. During his 15-year employment at this company he paid Social Security tax and earned the necessary quarters for a Social Security benefit. Throughout his second career as an Illinois teacher, he did not pay Social Security tax. He did, however, retire with a teacher’s pension.
As he was preparing to retire he visited with a financial advisor whom he had seen around the school where he worked. The advisor told him that since he was a teacher, he would not be eligible for any Social Security. Having no good reason to doubt this “advisor,” Mr. Franks retired and started his TRS pension.
It wasn’t until he was 72 years old that he discovered he should have been receiving a Social Security benefit all along. He was livid! I’m pretty sure I’d be upset too.
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