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The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) reduces the Social Security (SS) benefits for individuals by up to 50% of their foreign pension benefits. The WEP impact is reduced by the number of years an individual has contributed to Social Security and only applies to individuals with foreign pensions who have contributed for between 10-29 years to Social Security. 

Self-employed Americans living abroad often must pay SECA taxes in addition to the social security taxes they pay in their country of residence. No voluntary program exists for non-self-employed Americans to contribute to the Social Security system.

Foreign spouses and adopted children of Americans are often denied survivor benefits. (For more detailed discussion please see: Eliminate Deficiencies of the Social Security System (Feb. 2015) and ACA’s Position on Social Security Issues and the Overseas American.

Social Security should provide dedicated support to Americans overseas who are accessing Social Security benefits. This includes on-line viewing of their accounts, assistance for first-time applications for Social Security numbers and a dedicated out reach for overseas Americans with questions and problems. Currently Social Security services are provided through the Federal Benefits Units located in US Consulates and Embassies. With more and more individuals coming into compliance and needing assistance with Obtaining or reclaiming Social Security numbers and with questions on their benefits, the Social Security Administration needs to expand its out-reach and provide more direct assistance.

Legislative Efforts

Legislation calling for the full repeal of WEP was introduced in Congress under House bill H.R.82 - Social Security Fairness Act of 2023 as well as the Senate version and S.597 - A bill to amend title II of the Social Security Act to repeal the Government pension offset and windfall elimination provisions.  Foreign pensions should not count against or reduce U.S. Social Security benefits earned while working in the United States.  U.S. citizens overseas receiving foreign pensions are not “double dipping,” these are retirement benefits earned overseas in addition to contributing fully to U.S. Social Security.

ACA supports repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and stresses that any coorective measure addressing WEP must include US citizens overseas who receive benefits from foriegn pensions which can trigger the WEP application of reduced benefits to their US Social Security benefits.

Join ACA's write-in campaign to support efforts to correct WEP.