Helping Idaho Public Employees Build A Secure Retirement

Social Security Benefits and PERSI

PERSI occasionally receives questions regarding two Social Security Administration (SSA) programs and how one or both may affect a PERSI benefit. Generally, the Windfall Elimination Program (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) will not affect a PERSI benefit. However, the WEP or the GPO could affect Social Security benefits.

Since each person has a unique work history for Social Security purposes, all factors must be considered by SSA for a final Social Security benefit decision. We have provided a list of agencies to contact and Web sites to visit that will guide you through the benefit information.

WEP and GPO are programs created by federal law. WEP can affect how a worker’s Social Security retirement or disability benefit is calculated. If you, the worker, work for an employer that is not required to or does not withhold Social Security taxes from your earnings (non-covered work), any pension you receive from the non-covered work may reduce your Social Security benefits. This provision may affect you when you earn a pension from an employer who did not withhold Social Security taxes and you qualify for Social Security retirement or disability benefits from work in other jobs for which you did pay Social Security taxes.

GPO affects a worker’s spouse(s), widow(s), or widower(s). If you, the worker, receive a pension from a federal, state or local government based on work for which you did not pay Social Security taxes, SSA may reduce the benefits paid to your spouse(s), widow(s), or widower(s).

Social Security Coverage for State and Local Government Positions

Social Security coverage for state and local government (SLG) employment is governed by Section 218 of the Social Security Act of 1935, as amended. Each state and the territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands has a unique agreement with the SSA. Social Security coverage for SLG workers covers the position rather than the person as in private sector employment. The Social Security benefits are the same whether you work for a government employer or a private employer. Currently in Idaho, the majority of SLG positions and the employee in the position are covered by Social Security. However, according to federal law, some SLG positions and, therefore, the employees in the positions are not covered by Social Security. If you have questions about Social Security coverage for your current or prospective position, please ask your employer or email the State Social Security Manager at the Idaho State Controller’s Office.

By federal legislation, employers are required to provide SSA Form 1945 to a person hired into a SLG position that is not covered by Social Security. By signing, the employee acknowledges he or she is in a position not covered by Social Security. The employee should keep a copy of the form and the original is returned to the employer.

Contacts and Resources

PERSI
    Answer Center 1.800.451.8228 or 208.334.3365
    Employer Service Center 1.866.887.9525 or 208.287.9525
    PERSI Retirees Web site

Idaho State Controller’s Office
State Social Security Manager
    Phone 1.208.332.8734
    Section 218 Web site

Social Security Administration
    Find an Office
    National Contact Phone 1.800.772.1213
    National Support Team
    Online Benefit Calculators

Internal Revenue Service
    Contact Your Local IRS Office
    Section 218 Agreements and Social Security Coverage
    Federal-State Reference Guide (Publication 963)