I struggling to understand exactly how the Social Security's Windfall Elimination Provision applies to me in my situation (and thus what it specifically means for how long I should keep my part-time job). Here are my stats:
1) Although I DO have the 40 SS credits needed for eventual retirement, I only have the minimal money paid in for odd jobs from 15 to 22.
2) In 2003, at 23, I began working as a FT 911 dispatcher, and began to pay into OPERS (Ohio pension). Although I transferred over to our county's adult jail in 2005, my time didn't interrupt.
3) I left the adult jail in 2011 to begin a PhD program. Since the job I was going to was working as a GA in an Ohio university (2.5 hours away), and because I cleared the $600/mo threshold at the university to maintain FT OPERS status, and because I opted into the program, my time and money continued to increase as if I were working full-time. I had no time interruptions as I worked my whole two-week notice. During this time for extra cash, I drove back most weekends and worked at the same county's juvenile detention facility (to maintain part-time ties with the law enforcement in the county which would serve me well went I graduated). I also kept a home back there and rented it out because I planned to return.
4) Upon graduating from the PhD program, I did return and went to work full-time at my church in their Bible institute (my PhD is in Higher Education Administration), and although I was done at the university, I continued to make sure I was working at least five shifts a month part-time at the juvenile detention facility in order to keep the clock ticking on the full-time status. Five shifts a month (which I work on thirds and can do some other things while there) is all I have to maintain to clear the $600 threshold and continue to contribute. I now have about 12 years in and the clock has never stopped ticking since I was hired as a dispatcher in Oct 2003.
5) When I was hired full-time at the church, I was told I couldn't opt out of SS despite the fact that I have the OPERS pension (140k in a stock index fund and 25k in a retiree medical account) because I'm not ordained and don't plan to be (apparently those who are ordained can opt out).
6) I'm in no hurry to leave the jail (it represents 10.5k a year of my 55k), but I've read up on the Windfall Elimination Provision with SS and realize that this may affect me negatively when I retire. Question is, I'm not sure how it affects me, how negatively, and when the ideal time would be to quit the juvenile detention job (keep it til I reach 30 years in? keep it til 65? quit now because of WEP?).
I keep the job right now for several reasons in no particular order: 1) retirement 2) enjoyment or I at least don't hate it 3) time to do it - no husband or children and no plans for either 4) I teach CJ part-time online at a university and this keeps me "in the field" 5) The church allows me to work 4 10s instead of 5 8s to accomodate for the side work 6) a much appreciated extra 10-11k of income
Now that I've graduated, I'm going to be using that extra income to fund a RothIRA with mutual funds and aggressively pay toward my mortgage (so I won't be quitting the job soon solely on account of not needing the money). However, I'm really starting to look into increasing my teaching online (both for the university and through avenues of passive income like Udemy, Skillfeed, etc.) and these may come to replace my income from the juvenile fully. It's such an easy job and I get so much done there and so much out of it for so little but I just really don't want to find out years down the road that I hurt myself in some way by staying (because I really think I could replace the income with teaching, and better yet possibly passive income).
Does anyone understand this well enough to weigh in? Thanks in advance for your time. Btw, I didn't mention up but I'm 35.