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Social Security
Windfall Elimination Provision

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) can affect how Social Security calculates your retirement or disability benefit. WEP reduces benefits for individuals who receive a foreign or domestic pension based on employment that is not subject to Social Security payroll tax. If you work for an employer who does not withhold Social Security taxes from your salary, any retirement or disability pension you receive from that work can reduce your Social Security benefits. Such an employer may be a government agency or an employer in another country. For additional information regarding the Windfall Elimination Provision, please read our WEP Fact Sheet.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently reviewed how Social Security benefits are calculated for recipients of Japan’s National Pension who may be subject to WEP. During this review, SSA determined that Japan’s National Pension is a residency-based pension, to which WEP does not apply. SSA is currently reviewing and correcting records for beneficiaries receiving Japan’s National Pension and who are currently subject to WEP. 

Do I need to request a review of my benefits?

You do not need to take any action. SSA will notify you by letter when it reviews your benefit record. If additional benefits are due, you will receive the benefits automatically and you will receive a determination letter informing you whether your benefit amount has been increased.

Alternatively, if SSA needs additional information, you will receive a letter requesting information. If you receive this letter, please follow the instructions and complete the enclosed Form SSA-308, Modified Benefit Formula Questionnaire Foreign Pension. Mail both the completed Form SSA-308 and your initial pension award letter using the enclosed envelope. For instructions in Japanese on how to complete Form SSA-308, please view this link. It is important that you return these documents to SSA using the provided envelope. Do not send the documents to the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) in Tokyo as this will delay the processing of your benefit review.

What if I do not receive a letter from SSA?

You will receive a letter once SSA begins reviewing your benefit record. If you have not yet received a letter, most likely SSA has not begun its review of your benefit record. Due to the significant volume of cases that need to be reviewed, SSA estimates that it may take several years to complete every review. However, beneficiaries will receive all past due benefits they are entitled to once their review is completed.

What if I have additional questions?

The Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) in Tokyo is able to provide general information about WEP; however, the FBU is unable to answer specific questions regarding the status of a beneficiary’s WEP review. As such, we highly encourage beneficiaries to wait until they receive their review letter from SSA and periodically check this webpage for updated information.