The vast majority of Texas school districts do not participate in Social Security, so most employees are entitled to Social Security benefits only if they paid into that system through other employment (for at least 40 quarters) or through their spouses. However, federal law reduces, or in some cases eliminates, the amount of Social Security benefits received in those situations.
If you retire from a district that does not participate in
Social Security but are eligible for benefits through your spouse, the
GPO will reduce the amount of your spousal or survivor Social Security
benefits by two-thirds of the amount of your TRS pension. The GPO does not affect the amount of
your TRS pension.
An employee must work at least the last 60 months prior to retirement in a position that pays into both TRS and Social Security to be exempt from the GPO.
Click here for an unofficial list of Texas school districts participating in Social Security.
If you work in a district not participating in Social Security but are eligible for Social Security benefits because of previous employment in which you paid into Social Security, you may be subject to the WEP. The effect of this offset is not generally as severe as that of the GPO, but it may still be significant.
TCTA continues to urge repeal of the offsets through our Washington lobbying efforts and has supported federal legislation that would implement a fairer calculation of the WEP penalty. See our Q&A on Social Security benefits.
Watch TCTA's free online continuing education video "Social Security Retirement Benefits: What you Need to Know" for 1.25 CPE hours by signing in here and looking for the title in the CPE tab.