The following was included in TCTA's 2020-21 Survival Guide, the ultimate reference tool for Texas educators, and is current as of September 2020 but is subject to change.

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.

Government Pension Offset

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. (Click here for a more detailed explanation.) 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.

See for an unofficial list of Texas school districts participating in Social Security.

Windfall Elimination Provision

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.

Click here for more information.

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. Read this TCTA Q&A for more information.

See also: TRS & Social Security

Social Security Retirement Benefits: What You Need to Know (TCTA members must log in to view this free CPE video and earn 1.25 CPE hours.)