Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Keep demanding the repealing of the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision! (from Social Security Fairness)

The fight to repeal the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision has been long and frustrating, but there are still reasons for hope.

  1. Even though in the past we have had less support from Republicans than from Democrats, there are members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who realize that the offset and provision are either poorly written or just plain wrong.
  2. In late February, H.R. 1205, the new House bill to fully repeal both the GPO and the WEP was introduced by Rodney Davis of Illinois, and it already has 89 co-sponsors.
  3. Republicans often see the WEP as poorly written and making no sense from a financial point of view. In addition, many of them find it problematic that the offset and provision were imposed on us with no warning. (A 2005 law required that NEW employees of non-Social Security-covered positions must be inform about GPO and WEP).
  4. It is likely that there will be some major changes to Social Security, either in this present 115th Congress (2017-2018) or the next one. Therefore, we need to continue pressuring [Congress].
Immediate action is needed: Find out if your member of Congress has signed onto H.R. 1205, the Social Security Fairness Act of 2017. The list, linked below, can be sorted by state:

You can find your Representative at Save his or her number on your phone or save the comment page. Thank your representative if his or her name is on the co-sponsors list. If your representative is not yet a co-sponsor, explain how the GPO and WEP has unfairly punished you for working as a public servant. (Congressional Representatives are also working as a public servants!)

Find ideas on the “Our Case” page of Social Security Fairness:

1 comment:

  1. The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) “was enacted as part of the 1983 Social Security Refinancing Act, designed to shore up the financing of the Social Security Trust Fund. That Act was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan” (Mass Retirees).

    “The Windfall Elimination Provision primarily affects [a public employee who has] earned a pension in any job where [he or she] did not pay Social Security taxes and also worked in other jobs long enough to qualify for a Social Security retirement or disability benefit” (Social Security website).

    WEP reduces any earned Social Security in other jobs because of a state pension benefit.

    “…Reduction in [a] Social Security benefit cannot be more than one-half of the amount of [one’s public] pension that is based on earnings after 1956 on which [he or she] did not pay Social Security taxes…

    “The Windfall Elimination Provision may apply if [the public employee reaches 62] after 1985; or [if he or she] became disabled after 1985; and [if he or she] first became eligible for a monthly pension based on work where [he or she] did not pay Social Security taxes after 1985…” (Social Security website).

    According to Mass Retirees, “the WEP affects members who apply for their own (not spousal) Social Security benefits and fail to satisfy certain exceptions. A major exception is that members, who were eligible for their public pension before January 1, 1986 (i.e., 20/more years of service under age 55, or 10/more years over 55) or have at least 30 years of substantial coverage under Social Security, are exempt from the WEP. (There is some relief for those with 20-30 years of SS coverage.”

    The Government Pension Offset (GPO) is “a provision in the 1977 Social Security Amendments signed into law by President Jimmy Carter” (Mass Retirees).

    “The GPO affects members who apply for Social Security spousal benefits, based upon their husband or wife’s work record under the program and fail to satisfy two exceptions. Members must either be eligible for their public pension before December 1, 1982 and meet all requirements for Social Security spousal benefits… or be eligible for their pension before July 1, 1983 and receiving one-half support from his or her spouse. Unless a member satisfies one of these two exceptions, then the amount of their Social Security spousal benefits will be reduced by two-thirds of their public pension” (Mass Retirees).

    “In other words, [with] a monthly civil service pension of $600, two-thirds of that (or $400) must be deducted from Social Security benefits. For example, [if the public employee is eligible] for a $500 spouse’s, widow’s or widower’s benefit from Social Security, [he or she] will receive $100 per month from Social Security ($500 – $400 = $100)” (Social Security Website).”