Does OCERS Disability Retirement Affect My Social Security Benefits?
Our experienced Long Beach OCERS attorneys are frequently asked how collecting disability retirement will affect their Social Security benefits.
Unfortunately, there are two circumstances under which your OCERS Disability Retirement benefits may reduce certain Social Security Benefits. Two federal laws, the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision, provide for a reduction in benefits for certain government employees.
OCERS Disability Retirement & Government Pension Offset
Government Pension Offset law applies only to a person who receives their own government pension (including OCERS Disability Retirement) who is also eligible for Social Security benefits as a spouse or widow or widower.
Social Security will reduce your spousal or survivor (widow or widower) benefits by two-thirds of your OCERS benefits. For example, if you receive monthly OCERS disability retirement benefits of $600, two-thirds of that ($400) will be deducted from your Social Security spousal benefits
This law only affects Social Security “Spousal” & “Survivor” benefits that are paid to an OCER member who is also collecting an OCERs pension. This law does NOT reduce Social Security Benefits that you earned based on your own Social Security contributions.
The Windfall Elimination Provision law, however, does affects people who work for an employer who doesn’t withhold Social Security taxes, including OCERs.
If you are an OCERS member and are entitled to Social Security benefits as a result of your own work history and earnings, this law may reduce your Social Security benefits.
Under this law, Social Security retirement or disability benefits are computed differently if you receive a pension from work not covered by Social Security, such as OCERs disability retirement.
How this is done, is quite complicated. In this article we provide a general overview – but you should always discuss your situation with an experienced OCERs attorney if you are unsure.
Social Security bases your benefit on your average monthly earnings adjusted for average wage growth. They separate these average earnings into three amounts and then multiply the amounts using three factors to compute your full Primary Insurance Amount (PIA).
To use the SSA’s official example of a worker who turns 62 in 2018: the
The first $895 of average monthly earnings is multiplied by 90%;
Earnings between $895 and $5,397 are multiplied by 32%
The rest is multiplied by 15%.
The sum of the three amounts becomes the PIA
The PIA is then decreased or increased depending on whether the worker applies for Social Security before or after full retirement age. Currently, the full retirement benefit age is 66 years and 2 months for people born in 1955, and it will gradually rise to 67 for those born in 1960 or later.
Our OCERS Disability Retirement Attorneys Can Help
If you are wondering how collecting disability retirement will affect your Social Security benefits, it can be confusing to try and understand the benefits for which you qualify under either or both systems. Our experienced OCERS disability and retirement attorneys have helped hundreds of OCERS public employees, and we would be happy to talk to you.
We are one of very few Los Angeles area law firms that are highly specialized in Public Employees Disability Retirement. Our attorneys have filed hundreds of successful disability retirement applications and appeals andhave obtained millions of dollars in disability retirement benefits for our clients.
Our attorneys can help disabled public employees obtain their disability retirement benefits from any public employee retirement system in California. If you are an injured police officer, firefighter, teacher, administrator or other public employee, who is applying for or appealing disability retirement benefits, call us today.
Free Consultation with an OCERS Disability Retirement Attorney: 800-964-8047
This article applies to members of Orange County Employees’ Retirement System (OCERS); and does not reflect the rules, laws or regulations governing how other public retirement systems are administered. If you have question about another public employee retirement system, find your system, below – or call our office at: 562-622-4800
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Our highly specialized disability retirement attorneys are committed to ensuring that every injured or disabled public employee obtains the disability retirement benefits he or she has earned.
We have successfully filed hundreds of disability retirement applications and appeals – obtaining millions of dollars in disability retirement benefits in our four decades of legal service.
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