​Action Alert #106 – Getting More Supporters for Fairness!

We have a new Senate bill, S.521, introduced by Sherrod Brown, which already has 4 co-sponsors: Collins and Murkowski, Baldwin and Leahy. The House of Representatives Social Security Fairness Bill H.R. 141, has 109 co-sponsors, 33 of them Republicans. Its original sponsor, Congressman Rodney Davis from Illinois, is a Republican. This is truly a bipartisan effort! (There are easy links on the homepage of ssfairness.org to check on your legislators. We need 290 co-sponsors to force a vote in the House.)

The WEP and GPO hurt the people who make America work: teachers, police, highway patrol, city planners, fire fighters, custodians, school bus drivers, nurses, clerks, secretaries, librarians and many others. This bill should appeal to any legislator who cares about a well-run society and the people who keep it running.

If your Member of Congress is already signed on to co-sponsor the House bill, keep on reminding them of how you, and so many others like you, are being hurt. Become a frequent caller to their offices. Do the same with your Senator. Union/Association leadership made these bills be introduced early in the session. We need to back them up!


1. Get friends or family members to contact their Member of Congress or Senator to urge them to sign as a co-sponsor of this bill. Encourage them to not just leave a message with someone in the office asking the Congressman to cosign H.R. 141, or the Senator to sign onto S. 521, but to have a short personal statement about how these very unfair laws affect them or someone they love.

2. Again, stress the unfairness of these laws and mention that the repeal of the WEP and GPO is a good example of a truly bipartisan issue that every legislator should support.

3. Polish your story before making these calls. Practice on friends and family. (Watch their Aha! moment when they actually understand what is happening to you.) Use that Aha! moment to encourage your friends and family to contact their Senators and Congressmen.

SOME COMPELLING STATEMENTS TO INCLUDE. Choose the ones that apply to you:


1. You paid into and earned Social Security on private sector jobs you held that are totally separate from your public service employment.

2. It was not made clear to you at the time of starting your public sector job that you would be losing some of the Social Security retirement benefits you paid for and earned from your private sector employment.

3. You earned years of Social Security, but were such a low-paid worker, that many of these earnings cannot be counted to lower your penalty, as it does for others who have worked in the private sector. (You have to have at least 20 years of “substantial earnings,” about 4 times what you need to qualify for basic SS benefits, to begin to reduce your penalty)

4. Remember that if you had worked in any private sector job with a pension plan, you could collect that pension upon retirement AND your Social Security benefit as well.


1. Your spouse paid into Social Security just like every other person in a private sector job. The Social Security benefit formula was set up to take care of spouses also.

2. If you were unemployed for 10 years or more (the time to qualify as a spouse), you can still lose ALL your spousal or survivor benefit, if 2/3 of your pension is more than that benefit.

3. If in your state what is earned during the marriage is community property, you still will have no rights to the Social Security benefits that your spouse earned. Both your spouse and his/her employer paid into Social Security and those benefits should be available to you in retirement and in the event of your spouse’s death. Because of the GPO, they are not.

4. You would be entitled to an amount equal to half of the amount he/she earned, but the GPO eliminates that entirely, if your public pension is more than 2/3 of your spouse’s Social Security benefit. For example, if half of your spouse’s Social Security benefit is $1200 per month and your monthly public pension is $1800, you would receive zero dollars of your spouse’s Social Security benefit. (When telling your story, adjust these numbers for your personal situation.)

5. Remember to write down your story about how these very unfair laws affect you. Then practice on friends or family before calling your Congressman and Senators.

There are lots more stories to tell. Keep refining yours, and keep on saying it to your Senators, representatives and to the office staffs that answer the phones!

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  1. I fully support the elimination of GPO/WEP. I live in Alaska and even though I do receive Social Security because of all my other years of employment, my month;y payment has been reduced greatly. it would be wonderful to receive the full amount.

  2. We all need to thank Senator Brown for trying again by introducing S 521. We also need to encourage him to FIGHT for the Bill and remind his fellow Senators that he has supported them with their Bills and it is time they return the favor. Also, isn’t the WEP/GPO a violation of a person’s civil rights? We are not given a choice. Where is the NAACP and ACLU.

  3. I was widowed at age 55. My wife’s income stopped. When I turned 60 I was turned down for survivor benefit because I’m a retired cop. I HAVE A FRIEND WHO’S EX-HUSBAND DIED. THEY’D BEEN DIVORCED FOR YEARS!!! SHE’S DRAWING ALMOST $2000/MO SURVIVOR BENEFIT OFF HER DEAD, DIVORCED HUSBAND!!!! AND

  4. I completely support the repeal of the WEP and GPO and am thankful that Senator LIsa Murkowski supports it. I worked at a nurse for the State of Alaska for 7 years. The monthly benefit from that would not enough to retire on, and it completely wipes out all the the Social Security benefit I have earned so far. To overcome the WEP penalty would be nearly impossible.

  5. Thank you, Senator Brown again for bringing this unfair money matter to Social Security and to Congress! I remembered talking with you personally about your work to get us the total Social Security that all other American receives! It’s not fair!

  6. I’ll long be dead by the time the government stops stealing what is rightfully mine

  7. I agree with John, we will all be dead. If the congressmen and senators pensions were reduced itt would have been repealed immediately. They don’t really care about anybody but themselves, and getting re-elected. It has been 35 years now so I really don’t have any hope they will do the right thing. Shame on them.

  8. I worked 22 years in a private sector. Now I have been working in a Public sector for the last 8 years. I am 66 years old. When I retire I was told that 40% of my retirement I will loose because of the windfall law. I will have to live on 1200.00 a month. That is not fair because I worked hard very hard for all those years. Like many others I had to leave my children during holidays and summer while I worked. It is not fair. I paid into all this and now they want to take it away. How does an old person retire? Prescription costs are out of control etc.

  9. It seems that the government has accomplished its objective in my case since the deprivation of benefits for over 20 years, now, will undoubtedly extend beyond my lifetime. This after paying in at the self-employment rate for 30 or more years. Further, the GPO will cause extended suffering after my spouse or I passes.

  10. I’m tired of being treated as a second-class citizen when it comes to Social Security benefits. If you earn Social Security benefits, you should receive Social Security benefits. It’s as simple as that. It is as if you had two or more savings accounts for retirement years and Congress decides that since you have more than one source of income at retirement, they are going to STEAL half or more of one of them, even though they were earned separately from each other. This theft has to STOP.

  11. I have been working and contributing to SS for 50 years. Because I live in Massachusetts I’m penalized even though I’ve paid into the system. This is discriminatory and unfair. Please make this fair.

  12. Please repeal the wep/go theft of our earned benefits. This unfair law reduces by at least 50% the Social Security benefits of millions of government employees who have contributed into the system for many years prior to their government service.

  13. If my husband dies before I do, I will have to survive on $1,200 a month.

  14. After 30+ years working in the private sector, I was essentially recruited into the public sector where I ultimately retired. It wasn’t until I signed my termination agreement that I was made aware of the WEB/GPO theft of my social security benefits. I never thought I’d be struggling to put food on the table at this stage of life. I contacted my Congressman several times to encourage him to co-sponsor this House Resolution 141 but so far, nothing. To-date he’s received my votes, but unless he takes a position in favor of this Resolution, he will not get my vote in the next election. This is particularly tragic in light of his progressive stance on other issues.

  15. I fully support the elimination of WEP/GPO. I live in Connecticut. I just received my first social security check which was reduced by 30% due to WEP. My reduced social security will negatively impact my quality of life. The pension that I do receive is low because teaching was my second career. I actually contributed more to the private sector during which I time made substantial contributions to social security. When I decided to leave the private sector to teach NO ONE informed me that my social security would be reduced. It is a shame that I am being penalized for choosing to teach children in “high risk” districts.

  16. The WEP/ GPO is unfair and decrimatory, I was shocked just because I had a modest Police pension that I would be penalized and have almost half of what I earned seized by the Government. Maybe if I would have known this, I would have become a congressman.

  17. When I took my job in a public school system I did not know that I would be denied my Social Security. I loved my job for all the 30 years I worked. Now I can barely pay my bills. I have to go to a Community Food Bank. I seriously need what is mine and what I earned. I will probably never receive it.

  18. For the past 30 years this has gone on. Read Ronald Regan and the great SS heist (1980) a real eyeopener. The GPO needs to be called the true Death TAX mainly because we lose our spousal SS benefits. The WEP takes it monthly and the GPO at death. Our healthcare cost us $800.00 per month that includes our SS Medicare. We are both in our late 70’s. Our neighbor not a citizen and never worked in the United States rec $1000.00 Social Security ck per month because of his wife. Now how is that he will NOT give up his citizenship and Never worked and is entitled to that amount. My husband gets $500.00 because he retired from teaching and born and raise in the United State. I just dont understand.

  19. Re when are they going to vote on it. I’ve followed the House & Senate introducing well over a dozen bills repealing the WEP/GPO and have realized it gets as far as the subcommittee in the social security committee and dies there. Maybe w/ Senator Sherrod Brown now at the helm of this punitive law, he will move it out of the subcommittee and onto the floor for discussion and passage. WOW, that would be awesome.

  20. Don’t forget the GPO was the brain child of Jimmy Carter and a Democratic controlled House and Senate. Ronald Reagan and a Democratic controlled House and Republican controlled Senate get credit for the WEP. It is all the professional politicians in DC.

  21. I was going to retire at 66, I’m 68 now, but I can not afford to. I’ve worked 39 years for the school district. This is so wrong! I will get about 50% of my social security if I retire now or only $1.00 from my deceased husband’s SS. He worked in the private sector, why is his penalized? I can collect his full amount if I continue working, but not if I retire! What?

  22. Once again the SS sub committee has stalled and are doing nothing with this bill. Your elected officials have moved on to other distractions and are not pushing this any further. They need to be “reminded” the importance of this bill to our working class voters. If you don’t say more, then it will not go any further as past history suggest.

  23. Our legislators should spend more time on the issues of those who put them in office and less time on their obsession with Trump!!!!

    1. I’m w/ Paula. Our legislators waste soooooo much time, especially the dems on foolishness such as the Mueller report, fighting against building a wall, making sure illegals are welcomed into the USA and hating on Trump they’ve forgotten the rest of us who simply would like our full social security.

    2. paula i agree with you 100 per cent they should care more about us the wotking class of this country

  24. I’m in Ohio and Sherri’s Brown is a good Senator. I’m not yet retired but am a Boomer looking at my options. A friend told me about the WEP many years ago because it affected his dad. I emailed Sen. Brown about 2 months ago and his office replied that he is continuing to fight for it. You probably know he is considering a run for President now, so he is out on a “listening” tour. I would be willing to go to DC and lobby for this. We should show up right at their offices! How can we mobilize this group? I will go to DC to fight for it.

  25. All my life I fought for fair and equitable education for all students and I find myself at the end of my career battling to be treated fairly and equitably! If you earned Social Security from working any length of time that should be your money! How is working for education or the state be considered a “windfall”. If there are listening ears out there, stand up for educators and the people who invested time, energy, and love in your children. Reward them with at least being above the poverty level in their old age!!!!

  26. Maybe a march on washington should be organized. That seems to be how you get some type of attention. Or file a discrimination lawsuit because it is clear we are getting discriminated against. My husband worked private sector for 37 years but only received 2 years of ss before he passed away. Because I worked and paid into pers I am penalized by this. I am sick and tired of getting screwed by this rule,

  27. I was married to my ex-husband for 16 years. He draws social security and because I worked for Louisiana state government for 38 years I cannot receive Social Security. Because I was married to him for over 10 years I am eligible for Medicare. I have to pay $406.50 every three months. If I do not pay for Medicare, my group insurance will be cancelled and I will have no insurance. I have a state pension of $1300 a month. There is no way I can pay for Medicare w/o the social security benefit. It is rough, please help.

  28. I became ill after working for the govt over 20 years. I am not yet eligible for retirement and now have to live on $500 a month of ssdi. Ss states I am not eligible for ssi because of my pension I am not receiving.

  29. Before my law enforcement career I paid into Social Security working other jobs then as I were about to retire I received a letter from social security showing the amounts I would receive after turning 62 i went to the Social Security office to sign up I showed them at 62 I’d be drawing 735.00 a month but then they penalized me and I only received 411.00 I told him that was wrong he said that was the law, this is wrong that is money I paid in I’m just asking for portion of what I earned this has nothing to do with my pension because this was before I started my law enforcement career, thank you for any help

  30. It is past time for Congress to repeal WEP/GPO and hold SSA responsible for the mistakes they make. In October of 2018 I received a letter claiming that I had to repay an overpayment that was caused by a SSA error. Also, despite attempting to show SSA that they are deducting twice as much as they should be for Medicare I am currently paying $272.00 a month. Others in my hometown have received overpayment claim letters ranging from $3,000.00 to $60,000.00. Yes, $60,000,00! Enough is enough.

  31. This is indeed a theft. It was implemented in the Reagan Administration for political points only. Government workers are easy targets. When we consuder the recent tax give away to large companies and the wealthy of America, this is a disgrace.

  32. I paid into social security for years. Then I went to work for a state facility…I was not informed of the WEP. Louisiana privatized the previously state-operated hospital and forced me to retire. Now I work for the private entity, that same hospital, and pay into social security. The money I paid into social security is MINE and they owe it back to me. I do not see why it is ok for some groups to get paid a pension from another group, such as the railroad, and also claim their social security benefits…but not ok for us! This is an unfair practice for those of us who have worked our entire adult lives. That money I paid into social security could have and should have gone to my retirement fund if the government was not going to pay my full benefit. Please repeal this most unfair practice.

  33. Please repeal the GPO/WEP. It is unfair to so many people who paid into Social Security but have another retirement. I was married to my exhusband for over ten years and did stay home a number of years to raise our two children. Most of my employment was with school districts that did not offer to take out social security. The GPO directly affects me. Even my exhusband is upset that I cannot collect a small amount of money from his SS record. This money would be most helpful to pay for increasing Medicare costs.

  34. My husband and I thought we had planned well. In retirement if when either one of us died the other would have about $50,000 a year to live on debt free and about $200,000 401 for emergencies.

    Not a lot, but enough. I have always worked for not-for-profits for people with disabilities so no retirement, but about 2,000 SS. My husband retired DOD has a pension and with widows benefits, we would be fine. Only now, when I am getting ready to retire do I find out about GOP. Why did they not tell us during our 2 day retirement seminar when my husband retired. Because they did not want us to know. So not only will i have to live on $25,000 now, but they took my ability to choice and to make different plans. I have never felt so betrayed by my government as I do now.

  35. I paid into social security as a college professor at a state university for many years, but now because I am an expat and work as a civil servant in a foreign country, my U.S. pension will be reduced by 40 %. If my job abroad were in the private sector, my U.S. pension would not be reduced at all. This WEP provision makes no sense because there is no “windfall” involved.

  36. We all need to get on the same page, same day, to maximize our numbers. Today I called 50 House representatives to support H.R.141. When I got through I thought there is a better way. I also have notified the Senators who have not signed on to support S. 521 via email.
    What would happen if we all were notified with an action alert to target a different State once a week, on a certain day of the week, with those members of Congress who have not co-sponsored respective bills, ie H.R. 141 and S.521.
    Anything worth doing takes effort. It would take 50 action alerts. That is a lot of action alerts, but is there any negative to doing this? I can’t think of any. If someone has any comment please enlighten me.
    If we work together, at the same time, it would be hard to ignore. I look at it as helping everyone who deserves their full social security that they have earned. This is bigger than just one person, synergy to the max!
    I’m not sure who to contact about sending out the action alerts. Does anyone know who that is? I would be willing to do that but do not have access to all who have signed up to receive action alerts.
    We could start alphabetically with the States, but since I live Utah lets start from the end of the alphabet and move forward to A, besides California has shown support already.
    Thanks to all who help.

    1. Sounds good but how do we get it to move forward in the Subcommittee on Social Security or Finance Committees – who do we contact then! I’ve been writing letters for four or five years…

    2. I don’t know if I am being spammed or my emails are being deleted — not going through. Bill, I am using a fake name and a different email address and see if my comment goes through — 3rd time trying to post!! We need a D.C. march on House Ways and Means Committee — at least 200 folks. We need to arm the public with these figures:

      2014 408.0
      2015 413.0
      2016 428.0
      2017 442.5
      2018 447.5
      2019 463.0

      We need to tell them that even with “20 years” of service, the above are our WEP penalties!!.

    3. Bill: I dont understand why my posts dont make it as comments. Here is some information for ammunition: email address for Nancy Pelosi – Speaker of the House: http://www.speaker.gov. — right hand side under Contact.

      Have everyone call this number for Republican support — Congressman McCarthy will answer: “202-225-2915” and tell them you want more Republican support for H.R. 141. As of 6/3/19, we are at: 175 supporters. We need 290. Thanks Bill for all you do, and I hope this response goes through.

  37. I was forced to contribute into both the City of Phila Pa pension fund and SS for my first 12+ years then not allowed to be in SS when I moved to the career Phila Fire Dept. 1978 for additional 26+ years starting BEFORE WEP. NOW suffer under WEP in addition my wife collects on the REDUCED SS, double whammy! UNFAIR

  38. I lost over $75,000 all my hard work. Social Security Administration told me that and I can’t get it back I only make $1,020 a month. Besides losing $75,000 because I’m on disability I have to pay into my medicare insurance. I do not receive any Dental or vision. Nobody has the right to decide our fate! Or take our life savings. For this is what received helping make the civilization we have today.Our fore father’s fought so we can live in freedom, speech and from tyranny.

    receive Social Security and retirement. Where’s are dental and vision insurance. Why did they decide that people who have worked the whole lives may not receive Dental or vision insurance. I work my whole life I raised 5 Sons on my own . I missed out on everything baseball games football games their prom etc . When I received my disability lump sum which was only $10,000 I called to ask where is the rest of my money. They told that my attorney filled out my application wrong and that’s why I didn’t receive my $75,000 . But I knew that wasn’t true I asked if I can fight to get it back they said no it was lost after hanging up the phone I just sat and and cried remember when my children were very young who has any bake me not to go to work but I told him some day it’ll all pay off. You see I move to a different state where we didn’t have any support no family just us. I keep thinking how I wasn’t there when they fell and skinned their . Or explain the birds and the bees. I know we all missed out on the little and the most important times in our family’s lives I just kept thinking it’s going to pay off its going to pay off. about difference away with this or dental. The Obama law everybody has to have insurance well the people who have low income it’s stupid vision and dental I’m not prejudiced person but they never paid into it like we did it’s just doesn’t make sense to me. Only in America. The British government is paying all ther back. After acknowledging the wrongdoing. We must fight for a right get Nest Egg back.

  39. I was told at a government pension meeting that I would not be affect. Was I shocked when SS took 10% of my pension plus denied me any survivor’s benefits. I worked 27 years for SS and 22 for the government. It was like a kick in the face. I’m on a very fixed income now. My husband passed away in 2016.

  40. Bill stalled in sub committee again. Not being worked on. Co-signers need to be reminded how important this is to so many people. Don’t let them forget or push this bill aside. Now is the time to help move this foward before we are closer to elections which is a major distraction. Contact our reps to move it toward. Bless all of you who help!

    1. I’m 77 years old and have been waiting since I was 65 for this to be repealed or acted on. I worked until I was 76 and finally decided I had to retire. I had 20 years as a MA state employee in a hospital. All my other time (40 years)was spent putting into social security in the private sector hospitals. I was told I did not always meet the “substantial earnings rule”to have all my work years counted.
      I’m afraid we will all be dead and in the grave and this problem still won’t be resolved. Politicians want the money in their pockets not ours!

    2. Hi Bill: I posted 2 email comments –somehow they got deleted. Thanks for your part, Bill. I have another thought? If we can gather together 200 people for a D.C. protest outside House Ways and Means Committee, maybe that would help. But here is what we need to tell folks: not just “we are being penalized” (i.e., WEP). Here are bona fide figures to use so the public can see just “how much” we are being penalized. Then they might have a little more sympathy for us:

      2014 408.0
      2015 413.0
      2016 428.0
      2017 442.5
      2018 447.5
      2019 463.0

      I am going back five (5) years as emphasis. The public needs to “see” our numbers not just “we are being penalized.” My email is: roxiepet1234@att.net. and I hope this message does not get deleted? It is important information.

      Let me know if you need help or anyone else to organize 200 people for a D.C. trip with notating the above amounts. Also, we “all” need to boycott AARP because they do nothing. They easily have influence. Instead, if you have a little donation money: The Senior Citizens League, and Attn: Mary Johnson. She publishes a quarterly newsletter and highlights WEP adversities and pushes Congress for repeal. PLEASE DO NOT DELETE MY REPLY EMAIL. Thank you. We all need to work together Not just “Donna” or “Bill” but everyone. An organized trip to D.C. with the above penalties would help, no? Thank you.

  41. We got FOUR cosponsors in ONE day today! Just call, call, call and it does not have to be your own rep or senator. Thank you!

  42. This bill is moving and an action alert needs to be sent. I have focused on a few states where there are a high percentage of people affected according to the Congressional Research Office’s non-partisan analysis of the WEP and GPO put out in 2018. These are a rather detailed analysis, (each at least 15 pages) but will enlighten us all with facts of persuasion in our calls to representatives and senators. Currently I have focused on Alaska’s lone Senator who has not added his name as a cosponsor, Virginia’s two senators, and some of the congressional delegation from there, since that is my home state. There is a lone congressman from Connecticut, (Larson) who has not added his name yet all of his colleagues added their name to his very partisan bill that he sponsored, (ours, H.R. 141 is very non-partisan/bi-partisan). I have targeted all of our presidential candidates who’ve thrown their hats into the ring AND who have not added their names and are still serving in an elected office. There are two of them, one from Hawaii and the other from Ohio. So I could use some help with doubling down on those states and Alaska’s one U.S. Senator, Virginia’s two U.S. Senators, and Virginia’s congressional delegation who have not yet added as a cosponsor, (4 have done so already). In summary, the following reps and senators; Representatives who’ve not yet added their names from Connecticut, Ohio, Virginia, and Hawaii, and U.S. Senators from Alaska, and Virginia. Thank you.

  43. I retired from the public school system in California; and, now live in Nevada. It seems the Repeal is taking forever. What can I do or a large number of people do to accelerate this?
    My State senator and representative have already endorsed this.

  44. My small part time pension impacts my social security benefits: after 10 years I will have lost the entire amount of this pension to the SSA. After that time, as the law stands now, the monthly WEP deduction from my Social Security check will continue for the rest of my (hopefully long) life! This is patently unfair and needs to be changed soon.

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