Social Security

Social Security

Overview

As a California public school educator, you do not pay into Social Security, so you will not receive Social Security benefits for your CalSTRS-covered position.

If you expect to receive a Social Security check through your spouse or other employment, two federal rules—the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset—could leave you with a smaller Social Security check or no check at all.

Your CalSTRS retirement benefit will not be reduced by these rules.

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Important Things to Consider

If you are receiving Social Security now, your Social Security benefit may be reduced or eliminated when you begin receiving your CalSTRS benefit. Let the Social Security Administration know when you are planning to retire so that your Social Security benefit can be adjusted. Otherwise, you will have to repay any excess Social Security benefits you receive once you begin receiving your CalSTRS benefit.

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Windfall Elimination Provision

The Windfall Elimination Provision affects your Social Security benefits that are based on your earnings. The rule may reduce your Social Security benefit, but it will not eliminate it.

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Government Pension Offset

The Government Pension Offset affects your spousal, widow or widower Social Security benefits that are based on your spouse’s earnings.

Under this rule, your Social Security benefit will be reduced by two-thirds of your CalSTRS retirement benefit. If two-thirds of your CalSTRS benefit exceeds the amount of your spousal benefit from Social Security, you will not receive a Social Security check. If your Social Security spousal benefit is higher than two-thirds of your CalSTRS benefit, you’ll receive the difference.