Government mandating of employee benefits

Because an employee can earn a maximum of four credits per year, you must have worked in a job in which you paid Social Security taxes for at least 10 years or 40 quarters to meet Social Security eligibility requirements.However, if your spouse is eligible for a Social Security pension, you might be eligible for a spousal or widow/er benefit.However, some government employees, including Texas educators, work in jobs that pay into government pension programs (such as TRS) rather than Social Security.Because these employees have little or no Social Security-covered employment, it appears that they are dependent on their spouses when in reality they are not.Anyone filing for spousal benefits who is not eligible for a pension would have their spousal benefits reduced by the entire amount of their personal Social Security benefit, effectively providing them with the greater of the two benefits.

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The next ,917 of the AME is multiplied by 32 percent, and the remaining amount of the AME is multiplied by 15 percent.However, if both spouses worked and are eligible for individual Social Security pensions, one spouse could still file for a spousal or widow/er benefit even though he or she is not dependent on the other spouse. To prevent dual entitlement, the government implemented rules that reduce the amount of spousal or widow/er benefits a person can receive by the amount of his or her own Social Security pension benefit.These dual entitlement rules prevent double-dipping, or receiving both a Social Security pension benefit and a spousal or widow/er benefit.Contact your local Social Security office for complete information on which benefits you are eligible to receive.Texas educators eligible for both a spousal or widow/er Social Security benefit and their own TRS pension benefit are subject to the Government Pension Offset (GPO).The standard formula for figuring Social Security benefits averages a person’s pre-retirement earnings by dividing total pre-retirement earnings by 35 years, then dividing that amount by 12 to find the average monthly earnings (AME).

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