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The dollar amounts that follow are one example of a calculation for someone turning 62 in the year 2014: The first 6 of the AME is multiplied by 90 percent.The next ,917 of the AME is multiplied by 32 percent, and the remaining amount of the AME is multiplied by 15 percent.Anyone who applied for spousal or widow/er Social Security benefits before April 1, 2004, can gain exemption from the GPO by working their last day before retirement in a position covered by both Social Security and their government pension system (TRS).

The percentage increases from 40 percent to 90 percent as an individual’s years of substantial earnings increase from 20 to 30.

For example, a person who has paid Social Security taxes on substantial earnings for 20 or fewer years will have the first $816 of his AME multiplied by 40 percent, whereas a person with 26 years of substantial earnings will have the first $816 of his AME multiplied by 70 percent, and so on up to 30 years.

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).

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.

Simply being eligible for a pension through TRS does not preclude you from receiving spousal benefits; however, since most people’s TRS pension is greater than a typical Social Security benefit, the two-thirds reduction effectively eliminates the spousal benefit.

As of July 1, 2004, House Resolution (HR) 743 stipulates that employees who work in a position covered by both Social Security and the government pension system for the last five years before retiring are exempt from the GPO.

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.

Those affected by the GPO, such as Texas educators, have their spousal benefits reduced by two-thirds of their pension, instead of 100 percent of their personal Social Security benefit.

Typically, spousal benefits are equal to 37 percent to 50 percent of the spouse’s Social Security benefit and are paid to the dependent spouse while the other spouse is still living.

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