Action Alert #101 – Tony Thurmond Has Our Back!

On Tuesday, May 29, Tony Thurmond introduced a strong resolution to be voted on by the California state legislature to request that the government in Washington repeal the GPO and WEP. He knows how badly these provisions hurt California retirees, and he is on our side! Please read this through and send it to your friends. This resolution is much stronger than previous resolutions since it details some of the problems not mentioned before. Call your CA State Assembly Member and tell them to sign on.  After California, we will send this out to other states.

Action Alert #101 - Tony Thurmond Has Our Back! 1




California legislature—2017–18 regular session

Assembly Joint Resolution No. 41

Introduced by Assembly Member Thurmond

May 29, 2018

Assembly Joint Resolution No. 41—Relative to Social Security.


AJR 41, as introduced, Thurmond. Social Security.
This measure would request the Congress of the United States to enact, and the President to sign, legislation that would repeal the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision
from the Social Security Act.
Fiscal committee: no.

line 1     WHEREAS, Two Federal Social Security Administration laws,
line 2         the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension
line 3         Offset, passed by Congress more than 30 years ago without
line 4         statistical analysis, diminish or eliminate the fully earned Social
line 5         Security benefits of large numbers of public service employees in
line 6         California; and
line 7      WHEREAS, These provisions affect workers who have been
line 8         employed in a government position which is not coordinated with
line 9         the Social Security program, such as California public school
line 10       teachers who have not been able to receive Social Security credits
line 11        since 1965; and
line 12     WHEREAS, Most peace officers, including the California
line 13        Highway Patrol, firefighters, and many other public servants
line 14        working for cities and special districts are not covered by Social
line 15        Security, making them subject to these provisions; and

AJR 41 — 2 —

line 1      WHEREAS, In California, more than 300,000 retirees have had
line 2         their Social Security benefits diminished or completely eliminated
line 3         by these laws; and
line 4      WHEREAS, Effective government requires highly qualified
line 5         and motivated personnel, and California government agencies need
line 6         to compete to recruit and retain outstanding employees, including
line 7         hiring 16,000 new public school teachers each year; and
line 8      WHEREAS, The recruitment and retention of qualified
line 9         individuals reentering the workforce is impeded by these two
line 10       provisions which reduce or eliminate the Social Security retirement
line 11        benefits either earned by workers, themselves, or received through
line 12       dependent status; and
line 13     WHEREAS, The Government Pension Offset severely cuts, and
line 14       usually eliminates, all spousal and survivor benefits that were
line 15       earned from what is deemed by the State of California to be
line 16       community property income; and
line 17     WHEREAS, The Government Pension Offset requires that a
line 18       recipient of benefits report any yearly cost-of-living increase in
line 19       his or her public pension, so that his or her Social Security benefits
line 20      may be reduced by two-thirds of that amount; and
line 21     WHEREAS, The Windfall Elimination Provision cuts earned
line 22       Social Security benefits from work that is separate from the work
line 23       for which the individual earned a pension from a governmental
line 24       entity; and
line 25     WHEREAS, The Windfall Elimination Provision subverts the
line 26       purpose of Social Security retirement benefits by eliminating the
line 27       formula that reimburses low-income workers at a higher rate than
line 28       high-income workers, causing severe hardships for those who have
line 29       not had high-paying public service; and
line 30     WHEREAS, Until 2005, there were no requirements that a public
line 31        employer advise new workers that they would be subject to these
line 32        penalties; now, therefore, be it
line 33     Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of
line 34        California, jointly, That the Legislature requests that the Congress
line 35        of the United States enact legislation to repeal the Government
line 36        Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision from the
line 37        Social Security Act, and further requests that President Donald
line 38        Trump sign that legislation; and be it further
line 39     Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies
line 40        of this resolution to the President and the Vice President of the

AJR 41 — 3 —

line 1           United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to
line 2           the Majority Leader of the Senate, to each Senator and
line 3           Representative from California in the Congress of the United
line 4           States, and to the author for appropriate distribution.


  1. Phyllisbety Snyder says:

    Hopefully our cold hearted federal government understands how awful these ousted are to hard working workers!

  2. laurie ordin says:

    These provisions are extremely unfair and deprive public workers of benefits that they or their spouse earned. At a time when it is difficult to attract people to the teaching profession, these provisions make retirement from teaching much more difficult for many of us.

  3. PAM BRAUER says:

    “REPEAL: WEP AND GOVERNMENT PENSION OFFSET ! AMERICAN WIDOWED WOMEN WHO TEACH…NEED THEIR SOC SEC …..SURVIVOR BENEFITS….TO AVOID POVERTY !!!” Support: hr 1205, S 915, John Larson’s HR 1902 and POWR HR 1583. Kevin Brady said: Time to Correct the Math. Justice DELAYED….is justice DENIED!

  4. I really hope this causes some solid action. But after all the promises I have heard I find it hard to believe that this is more than a PR ploy.

    1. SS Fairness says:

      PR is good. We need more people to understand the offsets and have good reasons why they should be repealed. Too many people still reach retirement without understanding how they will be affected.

  5. How about a class action suit similar to the Jewish group’s who won in 2015 ?

    1. SS Fairness says:

      You are talking about the judgement that said that since a pension from Israel is based on a person’s age, rather than contributions, it was not the same as a government pension in the U.S. and, therefore, would not trigger the WEP. There has been a judgement that says, essentially, the SSA can distribute funds however the law says it can. congress decides the laws.

    2. I keep saying the same thing

  6. Rhonda Pimentel says:

    I am affected by WEP and more importantly GPO. My husband worked his entire life, paid over $100,000 into Social Security. He retired at age 62 and received $7,000 prior to his unexpected death. I do not receive spousal benefits due to the years I worked as a civilian in a local Law Enforcement agency. My benefits from the years where I paid into Social Security are reduced by WEP. I struggle to get by and make repairs on my old modest house. We are talking almost $2,000 per month! Yet California wants to give away $1,000 a month to pay someone who is deemed likely to commit a violent crime such as murder.
    Come on! Enough is enough and fair is fair. Let’s get these terrible bills repealed.

  7. This resolution sounds perfect and asks for what I want–repeal of the WEP. However, I’m not sure what a resolution is and what power it has.
    Where does this resolution go next? To some meeting of Congress?
    How can it get “passed”?

    1. SS Fairness says:

      A resolution passed by a state legislature is only a request to the U.S. Congress, however, it should have more weight than a pile of letters from the affected. The reason we are doing this is to educate politicians, nationwide, about the serious effects of the offsets. The CA one should move on to the state Senate in the next week or so.

  8. The Social Security Trust Fund is starting to cry about the financial future of Social Security again, but they and the media refuse to mention the numerous loans that Congress has borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund that have not been repaid or those of us who are victims of WEP/GPO

  9. Michael Weiss says:

    Will WEP elimination… should it come about, apply to all people penalized by the WEP, like (myself) an American who has worked most of his years outside the USA, and receives a pension from the country I live in based on monthly payment made to the fund (and not to social security). I received ~$1,050 social security a month, but when I started to received the local pension – which I reported to Social Security, WEP kicked in with a ~$359 monthly penalty. Thank You.

    1. SS Fairness says:

      If your foreign pension is not based on the amount you contributed to it, but rather a lump sum, as it is in Israel, the WEP doesn’t apply to you. Court decision a few years ago.

  10. Did the California Legislature pass Mr. Thurmond’s Resolution?

  11. WEP is discrimination to Federal workers who worked outside their federal jobs and paid fairly into the system and are unjustly penalized. I hope Congress does something but they move so slow. If you are old and retired you can’t afford to wait 5 years for Congress to make up their minds. They have money for everyone else but not for the people who worked and paid into the system.

  12. I’m not from Cali but Connecticut. Worked 20 years as a police officer and getting a meager pension. I am now 13 years into working in private sector paying my half into S.S. AND I have my own business where I pay both the employee and employer side (read 15.4%). WEP needs to be repealed OR allow people to OPT OUT of social security. I’ll happily put that 15.4% into a 401K or SEP IRA and manage it myself. This is not a Cali issue, it’s a national issue.

  13. Nancy Petersen says:

    Thank you, Mr. Thurmond. My husband and I are teachers and this has and will dramatically
    affect our retirement. We need our full social security benefits, in order to avoid having
    to change our circumstances, in a dramatic way. Thank you for you hard work!

  14. Re: class action lawsuit. I live in SW Ohio and registered with I received a telephone call a few days later from a law firm in Florida. I spoke to 4 people before I was told they were sorry they could not help me. I told the last gentleman I spoke to, to watch TV because they may see me marching on the Capitol someday. He laughed and told me he would. Since most people don’t support the idea of a march on Washington perhaps we should consider picketing local Social Security Offices. Enough local news coverage of picket lines may force the national media to investigate the problem. However, one person picketing won’t help the cause, we need groups.

    1. any possibility we would stand a chance with the ACLU to represent us !

  15. George, I tried contacting the ACLU a couple of times. I never got a response. Don’t understand why all these organizations that claim they are there for the people are afraid of the government.

    1. there just has to be a way to light a fire under someones a– ! This is gone far to long, my self i am being cheated out of 800.00 a month thats a hell of a lot of money gave almost 23 years to SS system really sucks

  16. Susan Brezina says:

    I don’t understand how the amount of “substantial earnings” is set each year. What criteria is used to set those numbers? I can’t find anything on the Internet that explains the formula to come up with those numbers. A person working a minimum wage job would not get credit for a year of substantial earnings toward the offset as currently we’d have to make over $11 an hour in a full time job for the year’s earning to count. I’m thinking of continuing to work after I retire to decrease the WEP offset/increase my SSI check but noticed that the threshold for “substantial earnings” is going up each year – which penalizes lower income workers. There are so many rules – I have one year of earnings not factored in because the determination was in quarters that year and although I met the “substantial earnings” requirement for the entire year – I was short the first quarter a couple hundred dollars so didn’t get credit for the entire year… although the rules have been changed now – it’s not retroactive. Crazy! I’d like to try to get my 30 substantial earnings years in and make this offset go away. Does anyone know how they determine that figure for substantial earnings?

    1. SS Fairness says:

      The only way to get an “official” answer to your question is to keep calling the Social Security Administration until you get the same answer twice. Or find it written somewhere on their website. This is a horrendous problem because many workers in our economy do not make the “substantial earnings” amount, even if they work full time. In your case, be sure to plan carefully. Some people continue in their public servant job for years after they turn 65 and claim their full Social Security. The offsets are supposed to kick in when you claim your public pension. Be sure this will work for you–check with SS–, before you try it.

  17. Unfortunately, for me affected by both WEP and GPO, I’m in my 70’s and continue to work. I don’t make a lot but it keeps the bill collectors at bay!

  18. Nancy L Petersen says:

    Is there any progress on the Repeal? My husband and I are about to retire, but whether or not we receive our full social security benefits will determine “when” we can retire. We can’t understand why we are not eligible for our full benefits. We paid in to social security and that money is ours!

    1. SS Fairness says:

      It is a good thing to understand this carefully before you retire. Maybe one of you retires and takes Social Security and the other doesn’t. Maybe one takes the pension but does not start Social Security. Many variables here. Check with a professional in the “know.” Good luck. Let us know what works for you!

  19. look we can all sit here and make all the comments you want. People the General public does not Know that this is going on?
    That it affects your Neighbor. A WIFE of 40 years who lost her husband and vise versa, Your Ant /Uncle/Cousin/Brother /Sister/Father /Mother and so on.
    WE as retires need to organize and march in Washington DC and upset the upper Crust WE need Drastic attention on this Lets get Social Media to work and get it DONE!!!!! That’s all I got lets get it DONE.

    1. I’m for the march! Sign me up! I have been trying for years to get my representatives, (Utah) to do something. I have called, wrote letters, emails, and have persuaded others to do the same, still no results. All I get is we will watch the bills through the legislative process, bla, bla, bla….They will not get my vote, or my wife or sons and daughters, vote….Vote em out!!! Now is the time to make our collective votes count for SS fairness and repeal the WEP, GPO with the mid-term elections.

  20. carol johnston says:

    I am a widow collecting a minuscule amount of my deceased husband’s social security.
    I taught for 32 years and receive a small income from STRS, which places me at poverty level.

    I would like to become involved in the process
    of undoing the windfall that was established under the Reagan Administration.

    Please, be informative as to how I can help speed the repeal process.

    1. SS Fairness says:

      Write us at! Where do you live? What associations do you belong to? What kind of support would you like to help us with? Thank you!

  21. jay Riojas says:

    If this bill had anything to do to up-grade the current congresses pay you can rest assured this bill would not have shelfed to some subcommittee for farther evaluation. These are benefits we earned and now the government reduces or eliminates them because they cannot seem to budget their spending on pork-barrel items.

  22. we need to march on in Washington DC

    1. Pamela Crabtree says:

      I agree George. However, I would experience a financial hardship w/ travelling to Washington DC. We also need a commitment by our federal legislators to appropriate SS funds to cover the repeal of both the WEP/GPO. All we have received is lip service by virtue of unfulfilled campaign promises.

  23. I do not understand why some lawyer (think like Erin Brockovich) hasn’t taken this challenge in a class action suit. How do we get lawyers aware and interested? ACLU has challenged the government before, this is a very discriminatory action and seems like it should be right up their alley.

  24. I was blind sided by this WEP as well. how can this even be legal. you should get SS based on what you paid in like everyone else. drug addicts get SSI without putting in a dime. crazy. I guess no real retirement for me. I should have been told way back when.

  25. Sharon L Beckwith says:

    Yesterday I visited my local SS office in Florida and applied for my widows benefits. I was denied those benefits because of the GPO; it wiped out what I was due because for every $2 of my gov’t pension it deducts $1 from my widows portion. So I asked about my own SS benefits. She showed me where I needed to work a few more quarters before I would normally earn a monthly check BUT she showed me that for every $2 of my gov’t pension it deducts $1 from my earned SS benefits … it wiped that out too. So she said unless I need extra income, do not go back to work !! Bottom line: I’m out $3500/month.

  26. Judy Stensland says:

    I will be 78 on September 30, 2018 and I am still working full time. Because of divorce and a late start in the job market, now working as a secretary for Lucas County Court I would still have to work for four or five more years to retire with a full pension. I paid into social Security for 29 years, starting at age 15, while in school and college (not substantial earnings, whatever that means). I would lose two thirds of the Social Security income I now receive. I hope this passes and I wonder what year it would take affect if it does. I live in OHIO

  27. PAM BRAUER says:


  28. Pardon me for sounding ignorant. But where is Kevin Brady in this at this time? I receive his weekly newsletters, but absolutely nothing has been mentioned about WEP/GPO in more than a year. He enters the ring but can finish the fight for us.

  29. Pamela Crabtree says:

    Well peeps were back to step one cause all the bills introduced in 2018 are irrelevant. All lip service and promises of repealing the WEP/GPO and no action.

  30. Pam Brauer says:

    CHECK OUT: ANDREW YANG 2020 / Humanity First. Donate $1. Like UBI ? YES! Want $1,ooo per month in a FREEDOM DIVIDEND ? Want Medicare for ALL ? YES! YANG 2020

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