Q & A

I am a 67-year-old male who is currently not working. I am a U.S. citizen. I applied for and then suspended my Social Security benefits last year when I turned 66. My plan is to wait till I turn 70 to restart my Social Security benefits. In my early part of my life I was working 20 years for the government in my native country in Romania. Then I moved to the U.S. I was employed 20 years for different companies and paid Social Security taxes. For my 20 years of work in my native country I am entitled to get a pension of about $160 per month. For my 20 years of work in the U.S. I will get about $2,100 per month from Social Security. My question: How will my $160 pension benefit from another country affect my Social Security benefits when I turn 70 and start getting U.S. benefits? Will it be diminished? If yes, how much?

Answer: To determine if your Social Security benefits will be reduced — because of what’s called the Windfall Elimination Provision — you’ll need to answer a series of questions related to your foreign pension and your Social Security benefit, says Brian Vosberg, president of Vosberg & Associates in Glendora, Calif., and author of The Complete Retiree’s Guide to Social Security: Powerful Strategies to Maximize Retirement Benefits and Get the Most From Your Money.

So, here’s what you need to do: Go to the Windfall Elimination Provision and Foreign Pensions page on the Social Security Administration’s website. There you’ll find what’s called the Windfall Elimination Provision for Foreign Pensions Screening Tool, which you can use to determine whether your Social Security benefit will be reduced and by how much. Read more…

Source: Robert Powell, via www.usatoday.com)

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