What is the latest news about Social Security and my CalSTRS benefits?

Ask Jack Jack Ehnes

The good news is that the CalSTRS Defined Benefit pension is not affected by Social Security and any funding shortfalls Social Security might experience. There is no decrease in the CalSTRS pension amount if a retiree is also receiving Social Security. However, California educators did not pay into Social Security for their public school employment covered by CalSTRS, therefore any Social Security benefits paid to CalSTRS members earned from other employment or from a spouse’s income will likely be reduced due to two provisions in federal law.

Those provisions are the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset. You can read more about those provisions on CalSTRS.com.

There have been ongoing efforts in Congress to reduce or eliminate these provisions. The Teachers’ Retirement Board has supported these efforts. At this point, however, there has been no action taken on such legislation and, given the cost of making such changes, it is possible that such changes would not occur except in the context of more comprehensive modifications to the Social Security program.