Texas school districts aren't required to collect Social Security taxes from their teacher's salaries. Teachers who spend their entire careers in Texas may never pay any money into the Social Security system at all. Thus, Texas teachers may receive very little or no Social Security benefits at all, even if they paid Social Security taxes through another employer or if their spouse paid Social Security taxes. Teachers should be aware of how their Texas retirement benefits affect their Social Security benefits.
Benefits paid by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas may affect Social Security benefits, according to the TRS Benefits Handbook. The Teacher Retirement System of Texas is unable to determine exactly how your retirement benefits will affect your Social Security benefits. To determine the impact your retirement benefits will have on your Social Security benefits, you need to contact the Social Security Administration directly. The Teacher Retirement System of Texas can provide you with a TRS Benefit Summary if needed.
Government Pension Offset
The Government Pension Offset affects Social Security benefits paid to individuals who either have a living spouse who's receiving Social Security benefits or who have been widowed by a spouse who paid Social Security taxes. Benefit amounts are reduced by two-thirds of the amount of the Texas teacher's retirement pension. If two-thirds of the pension benefit is more than the spousal benefits amount, the person doesn't receive any spousal Social Security benefit at all.
Windfall Elimination Provision
The Windfall Elimination Provision may also affect any person who doesn't pay Social Security taxes on all of his income. The Social Security Administration explains that a modified formula is used to calculate Social Security benefits for anyone who's paid a pension based on income that wasn't taxed by the Social Security Administration. Thus, a teacher's Social Security benefits earned while working for an employer that didn't deduct Social Security taxes on his behalf may be reduced. The purpose of this reduction is to prevent retirees from actually earning more in retirement than they did while they were working.
Texas Retirement Guidelines
Teachers in Texas may retire either when they reach the age of 65 or they may retire at the age of 60 if their age plus their years of service equal at least 80. The Teacher Retirement System of Texas uses a formula to determine monthly benefits. Factors that affect monthly benefits include the average of a teacher's five highest annual salaries and the number of years of teaching service.