We are very pleased to announce that a bi-partisan group of four Senators have introduced the Social Security Fairness Act of 2013 (S. 896) — Mark Begich of AK, Susan Collins of ME, Dean Heller of NV, and Elizabeth Warren of MA.  This follows the introduction of HR 1795 in the House by Congressman Rodney Davis (IL) and Adam Schiff (CA). (A list of Members of Congress who have already signed on to co-sponsor this bill is at the foot of this email.)  This is the work of lobbyists from our different employee associations, unions and retirement groups.  We thank them!!

These bills will be alive in Congress for the next year and a half, so we have time to mount a major push to educate legislators about how wrong these offsets actually are. We need to make sure that the offsets are removed when Congress begins working on Social Security.

A couple of things to think about:

  • The current members of the House of Representatives are the most junior group that has been on the Hill for a great many years. A very large number of them have only been in Washington for 1-3 terms. They may not know about the Offsets. They need to hear from us!
  • Many employee groups have not made their voices heard despite the fact that they will be affected by the offsets.  We need to get them involved!

Please do this and forward it on to your friends:

Here is a link to a NEW email sender from the National Education Association that you can use to contact both your Congress Person and your Senators:

http://www.capwiz.com/nea/issues/alert/?alertid=62652316&type=CO

Don’t forget to also send hand-written notes to your legislators and their aides.  Sometimes they make more impact.  Phone calls asking for the Representative’s position are helpful. (If they tell you what their position is, for or against our bills, please let us know, so we can keep track.)

Thank you for being firm and persistent!

If your Congress Person is on this list of those who signed up by May 8th to co-sponsor HR 1795, be sure to thank them!

Rep Chu, Judy [CA-27] – 5/8/2013

Rep Hahn, Janice [CA-44] – 5/6/2013

Rep Hanna, Richard L. [NY-22] – 5/6/2013

Rep Huffman, Jared [CA-2] – 5/8/2013

Rep Joyce, David P. [OH-14] – 5/8/2013

Rep Larsen, Rick [WA-2] – 5/6/2013

Rep Loebsack, David [IA-2] – 5/6/2013

Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-19] – 5/8/2013

Rep Lujan, Ben Ray [NM-3] – 5/8/2013

Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] – 5/6/2013

Rep Pingree, Chellie [ME-1] – 5/6/2013

Rep Runyan, Jon [NJ-3] – 5/8/2013

Rep Ruppersberger, C. A. Dutch [MD-2] – 5/8/2013

Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-28] – 4/26/2013

Rep Shea-Porter, Carol [NH-1] – 5/6/2013

Rep Sires, Albio [NJ-8] – 5/8/2013

Rep Swalwell, Eric [CA-15] – 5/8/2013

Rep Thompson, Glenn [PA-5] – 5/6/2013

Rep Titus, Dina [NV-1] – 5/8/2013

Rep Tsongas, Niki [MA-3] – 5/6/2013

Rep Vargas, Juan [CA-51] – 5/6/2013

143 Comments

  1. A big thank you to all the congressmen who signed on to support the bill. I always felt it was unconstitutional to take money away from those who not only earned it, but contributed to it also thru paychecks and their employers. There are so many who never put in a dime into SS that are collecting it and this is why I feel that part should be revised. I will not receive one penny from my husband of 40 years SS should he pass on before me, leaving a big black hole in my budget – yes- money right down that hole- cutting my standard of living in half. My pension alone will not be enough to live on.I was not an administrator or high paid employee making big bucks. We are only asking for the return of our earned benefit.

    1. Public workers in the 15 states need to start banning together to push for the passage of the House and Senate Bills to eliminate both the GPO and the WEP…when I try to explain these bills for people, they always say they can’t possibly be true and I must be mistaken…that ss is a national program and how can states decide spouses are not eligible for their spousal ss upon their death. I teach in TX and very few teachers are even familiar with the impacts of these bills and just assume they have the right to spousal benefits like everyone else. TX is very anti-woman and has no one supporting it so far. My plans are to write Wendy Davis and inform her on the topic…she, like most people…probably don’t understand the impact of the bill. We need to contact friends, fellow public workers, and our congressional leaders to insure these bills are brought before both chambers and voted upon. The last time similar bills were brought, they were never voted on…intentionally. One of the TX Senators responded to my email saying there wasn’t enough money, but he would be happy to share our input if the “bill was ever brought to the floor…” In other words, they will make sure it is never brought up. We have a big fight on our hands, but if we don’t care and fight for ourselves…who will?

    2. We need to support mandatory participation in social security and then we can eliminate the GPO/WEP. The federal government employees at one time did not participate in social security. That is not fair. Now all new employees do and since 1984 all federal employees who participate in social security and are not subject to WEP and GPO.

      Presently I have two jobs both in social security and I am subject to WEP. We need to get rid of that as well. In social security the more you make the rate of return is lower. With a pension there is no decrease in the rate of return the more you work.

      Please write to me and we can discuss. We also need to get rid of the dual entitlement rule in social security. That is the equivalent of the GPO. When two people work in social security system neither will get any spousal benefits. That is very unfair. Social Security favors certain married people over other married people.

    3. It can’t be mandatory for states to participate. When SS was instituted, states and local governments weren’t allowed to participate. It wasn’t until around 1950 they could voluntarily join the Social Security system.

      It cannot be mandatory because the Constitution forbids the federal government to levy a tax on state and local governments, and FICA is a tax. However, states and local governments can opt into the system. Most do.

    4. Susan:

      You must have the GPO/WEP as long as you have people not participating in social security because it creates an unfair advantage. All of my wages up to a limit throughout my lifetime is taxed by social security. Some or most of your wages are not taxed by social security; therefore it creates an unfair advantage for state and local government employees as well as foreign workers. I know someone who makes over 100,000 a year and was a federal employee hired before 1984 and he had outside assignments that paid into social security. Without the WEP he would be considered poor because his social security wages count and he would get the best deal out of social security. Why should people who fight tooth and nail to be outside of social security get the best deal for the little bit they are inside social security?

      I think public employees should have a choice. Either they participate in social security like the rest of the 96% of the population and will not have WEP and GPO or they do not participate in Social Security and have the WEP and GPO but you cannot have both. Or three you need to get rid of the progressive benefit that social security offers for low income people and dual entitlement rule for married couple. Unfortunately the last idea would make the system go broke.

      As for the constitutionality of taxing social security wages on state employees, let the Supreme Court decide whether Social Security taxes should be taken out. That same argument was used with Federal employees but they switched in 1984. I always felt that public employees who do not participate in social security have a very separate but equal system but then I realize that separate is not equal

      By the way the GPO just replicates the dual entitlement rule that everyone else participates in. I know of many in fact most couples who both work when they are married are not qualified for spousal benefits. Is that fair that their is a dual entitlement rule for 96% of the population and 4% play by a different set of rules.

    5. I hope I am responding to Susan. I hear the term ” big government” tossed around by conservatives all the time. That and complaints about the govt controlling our lives. Well, we had no choice. I accepted the fact that as a police officer I didnt pay into SS and didnt expect any benifits. But, after I retired I paid SS. I HAD NO CHOICE. The govt. said I had to and it was taken out of my check. Now everyone, including the wealthiest Americans. gets a note from SS telling them what THEY PAID into SS and based on their contribution, what their monthly benifit will be. Based on WHAT THEY PAID!! Not us…..we pay into the program and I guess our dollars are tainted because we are penalized. Now I dont know what you have been told but my highest salary as a police officer was $30,000.00 a year. Accordingly we dont recieve large pensions. Double dipping? If I were wealthy and could have dropped bunches of money in a 401 k I would still get the full benifit. These people here are teachers, street workers, firefighters, police officers etc…. We had no choice after and before our retirements regarding SS. If they take our money and use it as they see fit, then why arent we entitled like everyone else. Give us a choice…if we can be treated equally then dont take our money. Thats big govt control the right talks about isnt it?

    6. Well said Russ. Thank you for articulating this discriminatory punishment. As one who is being harmed by this injustice, I appreciate your words.

    7. To everyone, why not sign this petition…already 113,000+ have signed. It will do no harm but can possibly strengthen our cause. We need the numbers !!

      The Harkin & Begich bills will increase benefits to seniors, and will strengthen and enhance social security for generations to come. Learn how here: http://bit.ly/11sA3uA
      Photo: The Harkin & Begich bills will increase benefits to seniors, and will strengthen and enhance social security for generations to come. Learn how here: http://bit.ly/11sA3uA

    8. 113,000+ signatures on another petition to leave comments about the repeal. Why not…what have we to lose?

      The Harkin & Begich bills will increase benefits to seniors, and will strengthen and enhance social security for generations to come. Learn how here: http://bit.ly/11sA3uA
      Photo: The Harkin & Begich bills will increase benefits to seniors, and will strengthen and enhance social security for generations to come. Learn how here: http://bit.ly/11sA3uA

    9. Another petition to sign and leave your remarks about the repeal. 113,000+ signatures. We NEED the numbers…..how can it possibly hurt?

      The Harkin & Begich bills will increase benefits to seniors, and will strengthen and enhance social security for generations to come. Learn how here: http://bit.ly/11sA3uA
      Photo: The Harkin & Begich bills will increase benefits to seniors, and will strengthen and enhance social security for generations to come. Learn how here: http://bit.ly/11sA3uA

    10. Hi Richard:

      I am glad that you posted your reply to Susan. The many points which you addressed helped show that as long as “we” who are affected by “WEP and GOP” are not supported by others who have paid into Social Security all their respective working years in the private sector, no progress will be made on this matter. Your post shows why freedom of speech is so important and by doing so, you brought up some very important points.

      The current problems and divided support for the Social Security system was the planned goal of FDR when he signed the Social Security Act into law, in order to divide Americans and to buy votes. FDR wanted Social Security to buy votes with the very monies he stole from voters in the from of Social Security taxes and to later pay these same voters back with there own stolen monies! Please consider reading:

      “New Deal or Raw Deal? How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America” and “FDR’s Folly-How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression.”

      Social Security taxes take away my property (my wages). Then my Social Security taxes are paid to a current retiree instead of being invested on my behalf. The amount of funds which may or may not be returned to me in retirement change at the will of lawmakers. If an insurance company took your monies, without your permission, did not invest the monies, handed your monies over to someone else at a higher rate and later paid you back at a lower rate or did not pay you at all because “you do not need the monies” you likely would ask for a federal investigation and arrests of the officers of the insurance company. Well, FDR set in place, before I was born, a system that would take my monies away from me, and would transfer my property to others. Later, those in the mold of FDR, looked at people like me, a retired police sergeant, who worked for 19 years in the private sector before becoming a police officer and who paid over $30,000 in Social Security taxes (1976-1995), retired in 2011 from law enforcement after paying into CALPERS to fund my retirement, and returned to the private sector again paying Social Security taxes; yet due to WEP and GOP, I will not get back one penny from Social Security, when I stop working again in the private sector. Is that fair? If I had been allowed to invest my $30,000 in an S&P 500 index fund, I would have my monies and capital gains. Again, my past stolen monies (Social Security taxes) and my current Social Security taxes will never be paid to me!

      The Social Security issue will not be resolved by having “everyone” pay into a system that was broken from the day FDR signed it into law. The correct “fix” is to phase-out Social Security, thereby taking it out of the lawmaker’s hands and ending this vote buying fraud. Here is my fix:

      Since Social Security payroll deductions are taxes and not payments into an investment, and all Social Security taxes are paid into the fed’s general fund and paid-out as “transfer payments”- Social Security taxes should end in 2015. Those who have already had their monies stolen via taxes and are already retired, they will keep getting those payments until death, from the general fund, just as they do today. Those persons who have paid into the Social Security system and have not reached the age to get their stolen tax monies back-they could chose to have regular monthly payments at their respective Social Security retirement age or they could chose to take a tax credit each year equal to what would have been paid in Social Security payments at the normal retirement age. With this in place, Americans would then be able to save and invest without dollar limits, tax-free, into investment accounts, for their retirement and not the retirement of others! The monies would only be taxed at 10% at the federal level when the monies are withdrawn during retirement. I know that many will dismiss my idea of investing in the stock market. I trust the market and I do not trust Obama and the current House and Senate leadership and I do not trust RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only). In short, I do not trust either political party. By investing in the stock market, having a savings account, investing in silver or gold and having life insurance to protect one’s earnings and investments, the citizen can, should and will take care of their respective retirement needs. I do support the use of tax monies to help those who are mentally ill, blind, deaf or otherwise truly disabled. As a police officer, I have seen many persons claim to need the help of tax payers and all the while commit fraud because they were able to and chose not to work!

      As I see it, the first problem is that Social Security from its beginning was unfair. Lawmakers took a bad law and made it worse. It is not the role of government to take my monies, transfer them to others and then tell me that later in life I will be paid back! (And in my case, under WEP/GOP, I will never see a penny paid back to me).

      In the book “FDR’s Folly” on page 180, FDR was recorded saying, “We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions…With those taxes in place, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program.”

      Richard has the right to believe what he wants about fixing social security and he has offered his position of the WEP/GOP issue. There are many who have taken Richard’s position as there are those persons who stand behind my solutions to the issues of Social Security and WEP/GOP. Richard’s ideas and solutions are neither right or wrong; they were formed based upon what he knows. My positions and ideas to ended Social Security are based upon my research of the Social Security system, WEP/GOP and the legal role of the federal government, based upon the Constitution and Natural Rights.

      If reasonable people such as Richard and myself are not able to find common ground on the issue of WEP/GOP, do not expect lawmakers to do the same. These are some of my thoughts on this issue.

      It is not the role of government to have a Social Security system or Obama Care. What’s next, you can only buy a government car and you must give-up your house and then be forced to live in government housing? Will the government force people to buy life insurance?

      I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and I up held my oath. It is sad that too few lawmakers have done the same.

      I posted my ideas in order to see the responses of others to what Richard and I have said. I hope that responses are forthcoming.

      Respectfully,

      Police Sergeant James Gibbons (Retired)

    11. Disagree with you. If our spouses don’t have an option of “opting” out and have lived in multiple states, there is no reason we cannot receive spousal death benefits. It is a choice the federal govt can make…they can spend trillions on wars for the benefit of the military industrial complex and they chose not to fund this type of benefit.

      RE. couples who both work…if they are not in the “public workforce” category, they are usually entitled to 100% of spousal death benefits. Spousal benefits should have no relationship to whether the living spouse has worked or not. If you are going to “means test” public workers, then let’s means test everyone.

    12. Your argument makes zero sense related to spousal death benefits…when two people have been married their entire lifetime, there is not reason a spouse should not be eligible for death benefits just because they are or were a public worker. Two private sector workers are eligible, two public sector workers are eligible…it is totally discriminatory and has a disparate impact on public worker spouses. Our spouses have paid in their entire lives, those who have chosen not to work or are so wealthy, they don’t need to work or they live off of capital gains have no more right to spousal benefits than the publc worker. Plus, when states can opt out of contributing (ie, TX) it hurts the entire system and benefits them immensely while hurting their public employees. The avg trs employee in TX earns $1500 per month and you are going to tell me they have no right to spousal benefits. The greed and hubris of this mindset will cause many to live in poverty upon retirement after working hard in the public sector…

    13. Cohn,

      The problem with the WEP is that it penalizes hybrid employees who worked both in SS jobs and school district jobs that didn’t pay into SS. If you look at the lifetime earnings statement of a hybrid worker, the years they worked for a school district, are counted as “0” in calculating their 35 year average (as well as I should be). However, the problem, is that our government has placed a penalty (THE WEP) and discounts their annuities for every year their substantial earnings years are less than 30. This is VERY UNFAIR. Bascially, they are not getting out of the system what they paid into it, like non-hybrid workers are.

    14. Hello Rick: Rick, I was a former federal employee, too. We need to get APWU and NALC on board. They need to get of their a—– and SPONSOR THESE BILLS!! (American Postal Workers Union and National Association of Letter Carriers). If you know of ANY postal workers in ANY OTHER states besides California, please tell them to spread the word to their comrades to, in turn, CALL THEIR LOCAL BRANCHES to get involved. Thank you, Rick.

    15. People in private industry get 401k, which is the same as our pension we paid into, and their social security, was not taken away from them. Why do public service workers have to be punished. I worked under private industry and earned all my credits to draw my social security and I was shocked when they took most of my social security benefit, because I worked in public service. Its call double dipping, well we did the work we should get our benefit. Like I said 401k is the same as our pension and it did not affect their social security, why should it affect ours.

    16. I worked for my 40 quarters and then worked for the Federal government for 30 years. As I see it the 40 quarters I worked under Social Security is a big joke, I get a warping $137.00 a month for ten years working under Social Security. This is not right as you all state the 401k is the same as our regular pension but they don’t get penalized for their Social Security Benefits.

      Someone has to change tis unfair bill and treat everyone the same.

      I don;t want to get into those who never contributed to Social Security and probably get more than all of us who responded to this message.

      I say get all of Washington bureaucrates off their asses and make changes to make every Social Security fair to everyone. It’ our money and we deserve it.

  2. A repeal of WEP and GOP is long over due. I am a retired police sergeant who worked in the private sector for 16 years paying into Social Security as both employee and employer. I retired after over 17 years later from my work as a police officer and did not pay into Social Security but I did pay 9% of my pre-tax wages into CALPERS for my state retirement. I will not get one penny paid back to me in Social Security because of my risking my life as a police officer. Social Security in general should end as it is unconstitutional. FDR lied first calling Social Security an insurance program and later calling it was a tax so that the Court he stacked would declare it legal. Social Security monies I paid into against my will are my monies (Property rights). I am 54 years old and since I was 16 years old I was dealing people I knew I would never get paid back any Social Security monies. I thought that the money would run out (the forced Social Security taxes are paid into the General Fund and not a stand alone account) but WEP and GOP means no money to me! These are my monies which I could have invested for me but they were stolen from me by FDR and other like-minded people. We who are hit my WEP and GOP could get a tax credit for the amount we paid in to Social Security plus 6% a year ending with the year we apply for payments.

  3. Does anyone know if the WEP/GPO repeal is in the Obama Budget that he recently submitted? Thank you.

    Pam

    1. Obama not only DID NOT push to repeal WEP/GPO, he pushed for stricter enforcement of those laws. Sorry to say it, but this man is not to be trusted. He promised to work to repeal WEP/GPO but this is just another one of his great lies.

  4. Sadly, according to Gov Track this bill stands a 1% chance of getting past committee. What can we do to right this wrong. It’s been in commitee for weeks and there doesn’t look like there has been any movement.

    1. We must all stand together as one very loud voice, we want to see action on this, to let it die by doing nothing is unacceptable.

      We must know who supports this bill and who opposes it. Is there more we can do as a group to show everyone how unfair WEP/GPO is??

    2. Martin, I’ve been in contact w/ my Ohio legislators frequently & even e-mailed obama a few times abt it. All I get from my legislators is a form letter…I received no response from obama. I even was invited to a teleconference with Bob Latta and cued in to ask a question & told the screener it was abt the WEP/GPO….I never got to ask my question. No one cares, they really don’t. Plus as a OPERS retiree they will be taking away my benefit of receiving reimbursement for the $110 or so taken out of my SS check of $61 a month, so I’ll be losing at least $100 a month b/c of obamacare. No one frickin cares abt us. Am I angry, you DAMN bet!

    3. Pam like you I am very very angry. I worked 11 years in a bank from which I received no pension
      except the social security I paid in. After the bank, I became a substitute teacher, and have been working at this for over 20 years. Six years of the subbing went into social security before they
      changed us over to teacher retirement. I turned 65 in April 2014 and I can’t afford to retire since my
      social security is being cut if I do. My teacher retirement will be around $850.00 to $900.00
      monthly. Social security will be cut back to $463.00 ($358.00) after medicare of $105.00 is taken out. I am not in good health and need to retire. I also got news I will be cut back on my daily
      salary of $146.00 as a sub to $107.00 because of a budget problem with my school system.
      Like you, any responses I receive from my senators and congressmen and President Obama is not
      satisfactory. We need to organize public places for effected people to gather and voice our problems and gather as many signatures as possible so that we can take these signatures to Washington. I have heard that if so many signatures can be gotten, Congress will have to act on an issue. I have also thought about trying to get an attorney to sue on basis of abuse of the elderly and discrimination. Perhaps if we could get an attorney to take our case and then pay him a certain amount if he wins or not. This might draw public attention to our problem. I think the government wants to keep it their dirty little secret.

  5. I have worked 30 years as a teacher in Massachusetts. I have also worked in the private sector service industry since I was 13 years old, paying taxes into Social Security. It is unfair that I can only collect my teacher’s pension and not social security that I worked for and put money into every year since 1966. I do not understand how people can receive social security without ever having put into it, yet, I, who have contributed these taxes, may not collect social security…only because 5 states un the U.S.A. don’t follow the same rules as all the others. I used to thinkl the harder I worked, the more opportunities I had and the more I could earn. Now I’m beginning to believe I should masquerade as an illegal alien to receive a license, foos stamp card, free tuituin at our state colleges and a welfare check…all without having worked a day in this country. When are we going to start taking care of our citizens in a fair manner across the nation. Social Security is a federal program. States should not be alowed to change the rules so I cannot receive the SS I am due.

    1. not just teachers, police, fire, postal workers. I’m a retired secretary who worked in public service for 22 years and my SS is almost nil and even my state pension isn’t all that b/c I wasn’t paid a high salary. So there are a lot of support staff who are being punished and forced to live in poverty. Just give me back what I paid into SS.

  6. My wife died when she was barely 57 years of age. She never collected a penny of her SSS after working for 30 years in the private sector. As a surviving spouse, I have a choice of getting hers ( as a surviving spouse). I will get 100% of her SSS if I start drawing at age 66 while still working and not receiving any govt pension or PERS. I was so shocked to learn recently via an appt with the local SSS office that I will lose my all my survivor benefits once I retired and start drawing my PERS. They applied the GPO which works like this: if 2/3 of my pension is greater( IT WILL BE) than my SSS survivor benefits, then I will lose all that. GPO is downright unconstitutional. My wife paid every penny of that SSS, and never got a dime and here I am, will also not getting it if I start my PERS. THEN WHO GETS IT? GPO is so grossly unfair because it eliminates 100% of my survivor’s SSS benefits once I have PERS. This will put me and others in similar situation in a financial hardship. WE need this benefit more so when we retired BECAUSE our earnings would be so much lower. I was also told( when I retire with Govt PERS) that when I lose my survivor SSS benefits, then they switch my own SSS ( if you have any) and they then apply another elimination called WEP. This reduces your SSS benefits by 40-50%. I am having a nightmare right now thinking about these double whammy eliminations. No matter who you look at the end effect of GPO and WEP are downright unjustified AND unconstitutional.

    1. Jay! We ALL need to be screeming this from the rafters and get this miserable law repealed!

      The Feds have the audacity to call us “double dippers” but, I’d go a step further and call them out-and-out thieves! When we and/or our spouse worked in the private industries of America, we were REQUIRED to pay into Social Security! When we went to work for a “public agency”, we were REQUIRED to pay into our PERS pensions! I don’t know about you, but I went to work (for a public agency) because I wanted a job to help support my family, pure and simple! There was absolutely nothing alturistic about it! I didn’t just one day wake up and tell myself that, “Oh, I think I’ll work for a ‘public agency’ because it will help my community!” There was a job opening and I took it! “Double Dipper”, indeed! Wish I had a job like theirs…work (and I use that term loosely) for a couple of years and get a nice fat pension for life, plus perks…nice work if you can get it!

      So who’s really “double-dipping” and exactly what are they doing with this money that they’ve collected from us? I’d like some answers…how about the rest of you?

    2. It isn’t “double dipping” any more than people who get a private pension and Social Security and people who get government pensions and Social Security if they have paid into Social Security when working for government. It is outright theft.

      “Double dipping” actually refers to people who take governmental retirement, and then come back and work at the same job and collect a salary from it.

    3. Right on, I am in the same boat, our money is just “gone” , it is just plain theft.

    4. Social Security favors poor people over rich people, the living over the dead. When two people work and they both are in social security as 95% of the population, you can collect either your social security or your spouses social security if the spouse is deceased, however you cannot collect both. That is the concept of dual entitlement. What happens to that money? Don’t forget Social Security needs that money to pay for stay at home spouses who do not work, the poor people who make under about 40,000 who receive more in benefits than they contribute and to people who were born around 1880 because they received full benefits as if they paid a lifetime when they retired in 1940 to 1950 even though they contributed for only a few years. So they made the rule that you can only receive one public pension but as many private pensions as you want.

      As for WEP, social security is a progressive benefit, just like the income tax. The more money you make the less rate of return you receive from your contributions. The benefits that poor people receive, those making about 10,000 are very high. If you do not want to get your social security reduced, then you cannot accept your government pension. Don’t forget your social security would be reduced if you work in the private sector. For example if you average 10,000 a year in earnings, your social security benefit would be 9,000 a year. If you average 100,000 a year in earnings your social security benefit would be 25,000 or 2,500 per every 10,000 you make. So that 9,000 gets reduced to 2,500 if you make $100,000. I support a progressive income tax and a progressive benefit structure. I support GPO/WEP. However one way to get rid of the GPO/WEP is to support mandatory participation in social security.

    5. Richard, so what you are saying is that retirees who draw a pension from, ah let’s say chrysler, red cross, sears, general motors, individuals retired from auto plants, etc. do not get full SS either?

      Thank you.

      Pam

    6. This is in response to Pam’s response to me on August 11. People who receive pensions from General Motors, Chrysler etc do receive all their social security benefits as they should. First of all they are required by law to pay into social security on all their wages up to their limit. They also are subject to the dual entitlement rule that social security has. If both people in a marriage work for Chrysler and they both receive social security and pension they will receive both while both are alive. If one dies as one will typically die before the other than the remaining person will receive both pensions if it is set up that way it was set up but only one social security benefit. They will automatically lose benefits of one’s entire contributions. That is the concept of social security and that is the concept behind the Government Pension Offset. Now if they were about to receive both their social security benefits one one dies then I would agree completely that the Government Pension Offset would be unfair. In 1939 FDR changed Social Security to include not working spouses and in order to do that was to deny benefits to the surviving spouse when the other spouse dies (They only get the higher of the two but not both).

      The pension that private companies offer their employees are in addition to social security but does not replace social security. What you need to do is to have two pensions like GM, Chrysler. One is your pension that you already have and one is to pay into with social security. If you do that then you will not be subject to the GPO or to WEP.

      Your pension replaces social security but to make things fair you still have to abide the progressive benefits that social security offers and the dual entitlement rule.

    7. Richard,
      How do you feel about my situation. I never paid into ss for my 23 yrs as a police officer. I do not expect anything for those years. But, prior to and after my LE career I have about 20 years of contributions in the program. Are you saying that all law enforcement officers across this country should be penalized because of our police pensions. Remember, we are only asking for the same return as everyone else, BASED ON WHAT WE CONTRIBUTED. Also, are you saying its right that we don’t get spousal benifits? I tryed to understand Reagans intent when he signed the bill but when I see it applying to police officers, firemen, teachers, city employees etc…., And I see what happened in Wisconson with Gov. Walker and other reublicans in Ohio and Fla wanting to follow suit, its clear what Reagon and the new GOP intend. It reminds me of trickle down economics, hows that working out. Politians can sugar coat things all they want but facts don’t lie. Fair return on our investment like everyone else, that is all all of us here want. I tell you what I will accept, give me all my money back and I will shut up.

    8. I would agree with you except for one major fact. Social Security is a progressive benefit the more money you work for, the less rate of return you get. Your pension is not progressive. For example if I work at ABC company for ten years paying into social security, I will receive 1,000 in social security benefits but then I work for DEF company, for another ten years at the same amount, the amount that I receive from ABC goes down as a result of my work at DEF company. That is social security, that is being progressive. I support a progressive income tax. The more money you make, the greater your tax rate will be. President Obama supports that. Social Security is the same way but the opposite. The more money you make, the rate of return on your social security benefits will be less.

      Most people do not realize this, you do because you are in WEP. Why is it fair that after ten years of working for ABC company, I will get 1,000 in benefits and it goes down just because I work DEF company for another ten years and when you do it, it does not go down and it would not if we do not have WEP.

      Do you see my point.

    9. Its not fair Richard. Is it fair for us to get 1/4 of what we are entitled to? Give us a choice….The govt uses our money and interest as it sees fit. I have no choice. A person with a lucrative pension, 401k, stocks etc….will get more for their contribution that we will. What if our spouse passes away. What happens to the ss benifits? We don’t get it. I am sure she would want that benifit to come to me, who in turn will do things for our children and grandkids. No, the govt keeps that money from us. The CEO of a major company would get that, even if at a reduced rate. We get nothing. Its simple, give us a fair return for our dollar, just like everyone else. My wife gets half of my police pension should I die. Just remember one thing, yhey want to privatize ss. Give it to the banks and fatten their pockets. When you are like most people here who worked in the public sector and see the attacks against us, it explains our disgust. Tell me one thing….how has the Reagon WEP helped ss? Not one bit, no more than trickle down economics. The Fraternal Order of Police put it right when they called this….an issue of fairness.

    10. You really did not address the issue that I talked about. The progressive nature of benefits that social security offers. That is the key that is why there is WEP. The more earnings you receive the less rate of return you will get. Every day that I work and my current job for two years and I am subject to social security, I receive less and less from all my previous jobs. Do you think that is fair? If you do not want to have WEP/GPO then you need to participate in social security for all your earnings. I do. 95% of the population does. You cannot have one without the other, they go together. It is sort of like saying I like to be thin, not exercise and eat double portions of Bic Mac’s. Or at the very least the pension that you were in or are in from the Police department should have a progressive benefit like social security. For your information no pension even comes close to matching the benefit that social security offers on their first bend point. I can prove that to you.

      In 1935 when social security was first presented, if a spouse died regardless of whether the other spouse collected social security, the surviving spouse could collect the spouses contributions. That all changed in 1939 to pay for spousal benefits. Since 1939 a non working spouse will receive 50% of what the spouse will receive.

      Your pension is not very fair to non working spouses. For example if you were entitled to 25,000 a year pension and your wife did not work at all in order to raise the kids, she gets nothing. Is that fair? In social security you would still get 25,000 and she would get at least an additional 1/2 or 12,500 so both of you would get 37,500. In your pension she only gets according to you 1/2 when you die but nothing when you are alive. She should get 1/2 when you are alive as well, social security does. Social Security pays for non working spouses by only allowing a living person only one public pension. To answer your question where does the money go to, well it goes to pay the living non-working spouse.

    11. Richard,
      I agree with you, its not right. My pension is payable at age 50 with 20 yrs of service. We get 60 % after 20 and 2% a year after 20 with a cap at 30 yrs or lesser I have no complaints at how its structured. But its based on what you make. We never made even decent pay plus, on average we live 5 yrs after retirement We can not contribute to ss, its not allowed. At least with ur police pension, there is some spousal benifit. Ifa police officers spouse dies and has paid into ss, we get nothing. So much for raising 3 kids on a cops salary. You never commented on the Reagan admin intent for WEP. It was supposed to help ss. What did it do? Look, give us a choice. If we can’t get a fair return, let us opt out. Its pretty simple to me. If you are a teacher, fireman, police officer ect…. You get penalized because you draw a pension. What about 401k, stock returns or whatever investment program you invest in. We couldn’t afford these programs. They aren’t penalized. We are. Its income…what makes the difference where it comes from. Well except for us. Please excuse my typing. Getting old and got fat fingers.

    12. Maybe some hope:
      STATE-BY-STATE WEP/GPO IMPACT GROWS
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      23
      Massachusetts Retirees Not Alone

      JULY 2013 VOICE: At times, Association members, affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO), may feel that they are alone in the fight to repeal both dreaded laws.

      But as two recent studies by the Congressional Research Service demonstrate, over a million retirees and 6.1 million active employees are impacted by the two laws. With federal employees now participating in Social Security, the majority of impacted active employees are from one of the seven non-Social Security states.

      The provisions of the WEP/GPO laws are applied based on whether or not a retiree paid into Social Security as a public employee, not where they reside after retirement.

      While there are pockets of public employees in all fifty states that do not participate in Social Security at all, few, if any, public employees in these seven states contribute to Social Security as a government worker. In addition to Massachusetts, these key states are CA, CO, IL, LA, OH and TX. See highlights in chart, pg 4.

      Newer retirees often question why Massachusetts and these other states are not part of the Social Security system to begin with and why they simply cannot join today?

      The Massachusetts public pension system, along with others such as Illinois and Louisiana, pre-date the founding of Social Security. When the Social Security system was created in 1935, federal law directly banned public employees who were enrolled in public pension plans from participation. Years later this prohibition was dropped, but by then those original state plans were well-established pension funds and moving into Social Security would have proven financially harmful.

      It should also be noted that in 1938, President Roosevelt successfully expanded Social Security to provide for a spousal benefit for work-at-home women. Back then, many women did not work outside of the home long enough to earn their forty quarters in order to qualify for a Social Security benefit of their own. So the spousal benefit was originally created to provide retirement income for those who otherwise would have none.

      Forty years later, in the late-1970s and early ‘80s, Congress and the White House began looking at ways to reform Social Security and bolster its finances. They found a source of revenue with public employees and, while stopping short of mandated enrollment in Social Security, created the two offset laws to be applied to retirees from non-participating public entities.
      Repeal Bill: H.R. 1795

      Congressmen, from different states and political parties, have joined together to hopefully correct a longstanding problem that they share in common – and with us here – namely, Social Security’s oppressive WEP/GPO.

      US Representatives Rodney Davis, an Illinois Republican, and Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, have introduced H.R.1795 that will repeal both the WEP and GPO. Like Massachusetts, both California and Illinois are among the states whose public retirees are most heavily hurt by the WEP and GPO.

      “Thirty years ago, we first predicted that down the road, the Windfall and Offset laws would be severely damaging to members, and regrettably our premonitions have proven to be more and more accurate,” observes Association President Ralph White. “Since then we’ve pushed to repeal them.
      “Our Association hasn’t given up, nor have others. And, H.R.1795 is the latest example of the perseverance and bipartisanship needed, if we are ever to achieve any relief from the Windfall and Offset laws.

      “We expect that the entire Mass. congressional delegation will be signing onto this bill. With all the debate now in Washington over entitlement reform, this issue must be factored into the discussions and H.R.1795 will help to do that.”
      One question, frequently asked by members, is whether WEP/GPO repeal would help them even if they began receiving benefits before a repeal was enacted. Based upon our reading of the bill as introduced, H.R.1795 would also help those, whose Social Security benefits are being reduced by the WEP and/or GPO before a repeal took effect. Their Social Security benefits would be increased going forward from the date that the repeal took effect.

      “It is very encouraging to see the repeal bill filed and renewed attention being brought to these issues,” said Association Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel. “All indications remain that the best chance of WEP/GPO being addressed rests with the larger issue of Social Security reform. Right now our job is to keep this issue alive and on the minds of our federal officials.”

      Please remember that H.R.1795 is not a law at this time, but is pending action in the House Ways and Means Committee.

      Social Security
      July 2013

    13. Dear Russ:

      One last thing, my social security benefits are based upon my entire lifetime of earnings up to the cap while your social security benefits are based only upon a partial earnings up to the social security cap which makes you appear much poorer than you actually are.

    14. I would agree with you except for one thing. Companies like Chrysler, GM they have a pension on top of social security not in place of social security. They are subject to the dual entitlement rule. If you do not want any reduction in social security than you must pay into social security in addition to paying into your pension. Your pension from the government is in place of social security not in addition to social security. That is the big difference. . Presently right now I have two types of retirement account, social security and 401 K retirement account. Why not pay into social security and your pension like Chrylser or GM do. This way you will not be subject to the GPO but to the dual entitlement rule.

  7. I am sixty-nine years old. My wife is sixty-eight years old. I have ben working since I was ten years old. In fact I worked two jobs simultaneously for thirty- five years. I worked one job in the public sector and the second job in the private sector. Both my wife and I are being penalized under Social Security Offset. We loose sixty percent of our benefits. This is wrong and unjustifiable, We paid into Social Security for almost fifty years. Individual retirees in the private sector are not penalized. I urge all United States Senators to pass urgently Senate Bill 896. Passage of this bill is long overdue.
    Thank you for your support.
    Sincerely,
    Lester J. Friedberg

  8. I am sixty-nine years old. My wife is sixty -eight years old. I have been working since i was ten years old. In fact I worked two jobs simultaneously for thity -five eyears. My wife and I loose sixty percent of our Social Security allowance. This is unfair and unjustifiable. I appeal to Congress and all United States Senators to pass immediately the repeal of the Social Security Offset. It is long overdue.
    Thank you for your cooperation and efforts.
    Sincerely,
    Lester J. Friedberg

  9. Maybe if they would penalize private pensions they way they penalize us, this would get out of committee & move forward toward fairness for all. They are targeting only a few & that is reprehensible. I’ve contacted my Congresspeople and they really don’t give a darn. Obama promised to repeal the WEP/GPO and I even contacted him asking for him to keep his promise. We are being left behind and no one cares…no one:(

  10. All, please contact your congresspeople and the President ASAP, otherwise it will die in committee. Obama made a promise to repeal the WEP/GPO, we need to hold him to that and need to pressure our legislators to cross the aisle and be fair to us.

  11. I worked under Social Security for 22 years, and then went to work for the Postal Service, which is Civil Service, and retired from the Postal Service with 32 years of service. Because I have a Postal Pension, they have stolen around $ 381.00 a month from me, and they say I am double dipping. I worked for that money, and I want every cent I paid into Social Security. Repeal this stinking law now! It is not your money, and quit stealing from the people.

    1. Mr. Terry, I am in the same boat as you & we are being singled out and that is reprehensible. My Dem/Rep legislators have been tap dancing around their responses to me. I don’t see Bob Latta, Rob Portman, Sherrod Brown helping me or others who are unfairly penalized.

    2. Pam, The money that the Government has stolen from us is going to the illegal aliens, and countries that hate us. All illegal aliens have to do is go to U.S.A.Gov, and all kind of benefits are bestowed upon them, and they haven’t paid anything into the system. Can we go to another country and do that? How stupid this country is. You work for it, and they give it to someone else, that hasn’t done anything to deserve. I don’t feel like this is my country anymore. I live around the Houston, Texas area, may I ask where you live?

    3. Hi Terry, I live in Ohio. You have no idea how I have been pounding my congresspeople abt this punitive & unfair action for years. I have to admit I thought how ironic that illegal aliens will be receiving my fair share of what I have earned by working and paying into an unfair system at best. I am very discouraged by this people pushed into committee and dying there.

    4. What I want to know is how is this “double dipping” when government employees in states that DO pay into SS get to keep their full pension and SS benefits?

      It isn’t. This is nothing more than theft.

  12. I have been hoping for this change since 1990. I was unfair to set it up this way to begin with. I’m supporting this cause 100%.

  13. I have been reading the letters from those who have written describing their financial plight due to the GPO and WEP. I am currently emoloyed by a large urban school distrtict in Southern Californial and I would like to retire at some point. I am well beyond the retirement age of 65 but I continue to work so that my widow’s benefit from SS will continue. My husband worked long and hard for both the federal government and as an attorney in private practice. and paid in alot to SS during his years of work. My CALPERs pension alone will yield me an adequate retirement but not a very comfortable one. People are so unaware of this sitluation and yet it apparently affects teachers in 15 states! I am using time this summer to write to legislators and hope that many others will do the same.

  14. Where’s our congressional support???? Please, all of you, contact, bug the heck out of your congressional people & obama to repeal this unfair legislation or at least get it out of committee. Remember obama promised to repeal this law once elected. let’s hold him to that!!!! Get off your keister and make noise abt it.

  15. Hey, I too am a retired officer. I spent 23 years on the job. With working before and after my LE career, I have paid nearly 20 years into SS. You my friend need to do your homework. Ronald Reagan, I repeat Ronald Reagan took this from us. Not FDR. The FOP has been fighting this for years. Further, my father worked 46 years in the coal mines. He and my mother passed 3 years ago. They died clean and well cared for in nursing homes all thanks to FDR!! Ronald Reagan killed us with the WEP. If you dont believe me, just look it up. I have followed this for many years. I am not political but I saw Bush and McCain both turn their backs on is. Kerry and Obama both support retired officers and this repeal. The interviews with the candidates were published in the FOP Journal. just the facts bro…just the facts and thank you Ronnie!!!

  16. I am a retired Police Officer from Oklahoma. My wife died a few years ago. She was due to get around $450 a month from SS as she worked most of her life. Since I now have a pension, I can’t get that money and it is just “gone”, gone to people on welfare and food stamps. This is crazy, and when I reach 62, my own SS will be cut in half because of my pension, what? And some people wonder why citizens don’t trust the government!!!

  17. looks like all the money, time, effort put forth by a few heroic individuals was for naught. this is stuck in committee as it has been in previous efforts and will die there…AGAIN. why obama supporters are allowing him to fail to keep his promise to us, without shouting their dismay/disgust & disappoint to him, is beyond my comprehension.

    1. Yes, Obama supported the repeal. I remember bush and candidate mccain did not support this bill. Remember wanting to privatize SS? Obama said he would sign the repeal. Our problem (FOP) is, we cant get it on his desk to sign. It has never made it out of committee. Contact you US Senator and Rep….tell them to support this effort. Dont blame Obama, he cant control what the house brings to vote.

  18. Congress has successfully created another poverty-stricken population–the American seniors via the GOP/WEP. Congratulations, congress, on a job well done. Actually, I would like to see Politicians’ salaries cut (which wouldn’t matter because of their independent wealth), but, more importantly, I would like to see Congress have the same health coverage and benefits we do, also paying for it as we do. NOW, THAT MIGHT HURT AND GET CONGRESS OFF THEIR DUFFS! Wish someone would start a petition to cut their wages and, especially benefits…..NO MORE FREEBEES TO CONGRESS!!

    1. On the lighter side, our congress appears to have the mentality and reasoning skills of pre-schoolers, as such, they should be covered under their parents health insurance and/or Obamacare. Right? Just being sarcastic—it helps !!

    2. Right L Weber..LOL. I would believe, many people affected by the WEP/GPO, have to be union members and thus could pressure the president & congress to act in their best interest b/c obama is a union guy. I mean the union people could do something, doncha think?

    3. @Pam, At this point I have tried everything imaginable. I have even contacted the ACLU and received a letter urging me to contact a civil rights attorney locally; but, this is not a local issue. It is national, and, yet the ACLU National keeps telling me to act locally. I tried it….nothing came of it.

      I have been writing Elizabeth Warren (even though I’m not a constituent) who is really spear heading the repeal. She does respond with letters that are a little different than the usual auto emails. I think Senator Warren may be our strongest ally. The woman is a fighter!! Doing battle doesn’t intimidate her.

      I’m from Ohio, and have come to the conclusion that Ohio politicians are DEAD from the the neck up with the possible exception of Sherrod Brown. Oops, wait a minute….I forgot, Ohio politicians do seem to have some brain functions as their autonomic nervous systems kick in when it comes to LIE, CHEAT, STEAL!!

      Yep, Obama is a union guy. I just read his economic plan, and one of his bullet points is that seniors should live a comfortable life even tho they are not rich. That’s the closest Obama has come in addressing the repeal (without anything specific mentioned) other than promising the NEA that he supports the repeal. We NEED to hold him to his word. The problem is how. He doesn’t respond to any correspondence. He claims to read 10 letters a day…evidently none of mine have hit that jack pot!!

      I have told hundreds of people about this unfair, possibly illegal, law, and they actually don’t believe it’s true. They don’t follow through on taking action, and this is so frustrating.

      I’m wondering if our comments here can be sent to Obama and/or the committee supporting the repeal.
      If you can think of anything the two of us might be able to do together, please let me know….I’m up for anything, I’m ready for battle, and I’m definitely NOT AFRAID to speak my mind. Please contact me any time, and I will definitely be available!! THANKS!!

    4. I support the WEP/GPO because it is fair. Everyone should participate in social security. People who only participate part of the time will have an unfair advantage because they appear poorer than what they actually are. I believe in the progressive income tax. The more people earn in wages the higher the percentage that the government takes. Social Security works the same way. The more people earn, the rate of return goes down even though the amount they make goes up. For example people who average 10,000 a year will receive 9,000 a year in benefits. People who earn an average of 100,000 a year will receive 25,000 a year in benefits not 90,000 a year in benefits. If only part of your earnings are social security earnings your average would be lower than what it actually is and your benefits as a percentage of what you contribute would be higher. That is the purpose of WEP. GPO works the same way. Spousal benefits are only for dependent spouses. When two people work in a marriage when they both pay social security then there is a dual entitlement rule which forbids you from claiming your spousal benefits and your social security benefits. With GPO if you still want your spousal benefits, then you cannot have your pension, you are only entitled to one or the other but not both. They need the money to pay for people who do not work. That is why social security is very progressive. It takes from the people who work and gives it to the people who do not work. For me, If I work from 20 to 67 which is 47 years, I only get credit for 35 years because the rest has to go to people who do not work. Social Security is just a floor of protection program and they do not want one person receiving a lot of benefits. I hope this answers your questions.

    5. @Pam, may I ask if you’re on Facebook? I have the transcript from a CNN interview with the SS Administrator and a New York Times reporter explaining that one trillion dollars was stolen from the SS trust fund. According to this interview, our money was spent on war, weapons, education, misc, and whatever the feds wanted. Supposedly the money is not recoverable. I can try to post a copy of that transcript here, but don’t know if it will be legible. Don’t know if I have the tech skills to do it either, but I can share it on Facebook.

    6. By that “logic,” people who have paid into SS and get a state pension and a private pension have unfair advantages, too. Let’s have an “offset” for those “double” and “triple” “dippers.”

      No, there IS no “advantage” retirees have in states that don’t pay into SS. Many cannot make it.

    7. Susan, if I read your post correctly, I agree w/ you. It’s either all or NOTHING, meaning all people collecting pensions, be it private or public, should be penalized and not receive full social security…& don’t just penalize public pensions. I paid 8.5% and then 9% into my public pension, with my employer paying abt 3% toward my pension. I also paid into SS for 20+ plus years. Get it, I paid into both programs, I had no choice, eh? When I was in public service, I was not fortunate enough to have a union contract that included my employer picking up my share as so many unions have negotiated. That being said, I do think the WEP/GPO is as unfair as you can get!

    8. Also very, very few public employees make 100k. Try half that amount, and why should I be screwed out of a piddling amount of SS because I worked in a state that didn’t pay into for five measly years?

      This is outright theft.

    9. I agree w/ you on that susan. I do have to say if my previous post seemed caustic I apologize to you, but never to the legislators who promised, just to get elected, to repeal this punitive action against a segment of retirees and failed to keep their promises to include obama. Discrimination at its worst!

    10. To the person who thinks people “should” pay into Social Security. That is up to the individual states. Because of constitutional prohibitions against the federal government forcing a tax on state and local governments (FICA), states and local entities cannot be compelled to join in Social Security. They weren’t even allowed to be in the system until around 1950. They can voluntarily belong to the system, and the vast majority do, but not all do.

    11. You are correct they were not allowed to for the first fifteen years social security was around. For the last 60 years they have an option to join and now they have to join if the state did not have their own separate retirement plan. Once they are in social security they cannot get out of it. If that was the case all of the people who work for the state and local government would opt out of social security and form their own system.

      The way social security is structured you either have mandatory participation in social security and if you do not then you must have WEP/GPO. You cannot have one without the other. It is sort of like saying I like to eat all the fried food you want, ten times a day and don’t exercise but I still want to be thin. You cannot gorge yourself and be thin at the same time.

      Social Security benefits are structured is that the more you work the less rate of return you get. Your spouse does not work, the spouse will be entitled to spousal benefits. If your spouse works, the spouse will not be entitled to spousal benefits. You want the spouse to work and be entitled to spousal benefits. That is not what happens to 95% of the population.

      I have always felt it was very unfair that some people are exempt from Social Security taxes. My sister is a school teacher from California and she is exempt from Social Security taxes. She says her retirement plan is equal to social security. I thought separate but equal was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. It is for education but not for retirement plans.

      Support mandatory participation in social security and get rid of GPO/WEP.!

    12. Spousal social security benefits should not be up for discussion. Spouses have no option of not paying in and it is unfair and disparaging to women that upon their spouse’s death they are not allowed to receive benefits. Doubt this law would have ever been passed if the House and Senate were comprised of a majority of women instead of a bunch of waspy men who have tailored the laws to meet their needs. Do you understand that is someone has multiple spouses for ten years each and who don’t work are eligible for spousal benefits; yet another couple may be married for 30-40-50 years and the maximum the spouse will receive is $255…a one-time payment….This is such an insane law….forcing spouses to pay in and not allowing spouses to every recieve a dime. Do you also know that over 80% of public workers are women; therefore, the law is disparaging against women and has a disparate among female retirees. It is also unfair to male public workers who are impacted. Do we have a law that states that our house and senate members may not “double-dip” and recieve both their govt retirement and social security?

      If you are going to “means test” public workers, let’s “means” test everyone…if you get a 401K with contributions by your company and you make over X$’s, then you don’t get spousal benefits. Who deeemed it OK to “means test” public workers and not the rest of the workforce. What about wealthy people who live off of inheritances and chose not to work? They are still eligible…treating public workers in this manner is obscene. Most don’t even realize this law is in place…and it is only in place in less than 30% of the states. Repealing the WEP and GPO has bipartisan support, by outstanding leaders like Elizabeth Warren.

      Either repeal the GPO & WEP for public wokers or “means test” EVERYONE…no matter how you receive your money, once you receive a certain amount…(What should it be?) and once you receive that amount, you are no longer eligible for social security. MEANS TEST everyone and do not abuse public workers. Also, remove the cap on social security and make it illegal for states not to participate. These two things would help replenish social security…which I understand has been hacked to fund unfunded wars and pork barrel projects.

    13. Did not take time to proof my comment…sorry…meant to say that disparaging treatment has a disparate impact on women. It also has a disparate impace on all public workers. We have administrators in TX, who are both working for a specific district and can bring home well over $100,000/year in retirement and nobody has a problem with this. While, at the same time, the average trs recipient in TX makes less than $1500/month. Employees with the world’s largest corp can retire early as millionaires and their spouses who have either chosen not to work or just didn’t have to work can still receive full spousal death benefits to the tune of 100% of their spouses social security.

      This law was initiated in order to try to force people into privately investing…which is also good, but social security is also a cusion most people will use to be able to live above poverty upon retirement. Don’t ignore this issue, Detroit is just the beginning of those in power along municipalities of all types to cry, “We don’t have enough money to pay our pensions…” This will no be good for those of us who have worked as publice workers our entire lives. The attitude of many who detroyed our financial markets is, “Public wokers have lived off the state their entire lives and they don’t deserve to receive spousal benefits…” Yet they feel it fine they pay no more than 15% on their capital gains income and deserve every pennny than can get.

    14. States should not be allowed to opt out of paying spousal benefits when the dead spouse has paid in their entire lives. Which state one lives in should have nothing to do with this. This individual has paid in their entire lives and a state should have no say as to whether the living spouse has the “right” to receive the benefit based on where the surviving spouse lives. This is discriminatory and should be overturned…

    15. One quick point on the wealthy getting the full SS benifit vs those os us who dint get the fair return like everyone else. While we, according to some are “double dipping” which really pisses some people off. While we were paying into a fund that we knew was going to cheat us, we were also paying 30-35% in taxes. While the millionaire, who will get their full return paid about 15% of taxes. It is what it is…..

    16. Those who are against repealing the law want us to have the attitude, “it is what it is…,” so we need to find the strength to rally our friends, family and fellow workers to overturn these “unconstitutional” laws. The govt wouldn’t take over five minutes to bailout the corrupt financiers and other entities; they don’t care about public workers, but they will care if we pull together and make this an issue in the ’14 and ’16 elections.

      I am making it one of my goals for ’14 and ’16…just trying to figure out the best way to communicate to as many people as possible. Am currently working on an info-graphic displaying the discriminatory and disparaging aspects of the law. Am currently investigating and gathering facts re. to how much our non-leaders in Congress make for serving a short amount of time and for what their contributions are to society. Will be a short list at this time…

      Get a surge of energy and stand up for yourself~

  19. I would like to comment on the WEP/GPO that was put into law under the table. Did you receive a letter that told you that your Social Security was going to be taken away from you or at least 2/3’s of it when this became law. I didn’t … no one had the guts to go to the people that this affected and tell them what was going on. If the common person would have been told it would not have gotten passed so easily. It targets the working people. We are people who worked all of our lives and expected to have Social Security as part of the budget for retirement. We paid in just like everyone else. Our money is being stolen from us. When I asked a Social Security employee where does my money go then. She said to the general fund. I said but it is my money and investment for the future. We had planned on that for retirement. Was never notified of the change.. The other part to my story is that I have a rare and a disease that can’t be cured. It is Spasmotic Torticollis . My medical is very expensive and I still suffer with pain. The other part to the story is with the disease I have I can’t go back to work. This law needs to be repealed . If you have enough quarters, because you have worked all your life and depended on this as part of your retirement you should have it. I love our country and never thought this could or would happen. Please don’t penalize people who have worked all of their lives and have been pillars in the communities. I am proud to have been a teacher. I don’t want to be punished for it. We need to make this right. No one else gets their investments taken away from them. This was an investment and believing in our country. Thank You to all the Congressmen and women that are supporting this bill and everyone else who is supporting the common person. We just want what is fair and equal treatment .

    1. I paid into Social Security for many years in two states, but because I didn’t have thirty years into the system in “substantial employment” and worked five-plus years for Nevada public employers, I will get 50-60 dollars stolen from the SS that I PAID for. I will be lucky if I get 1k a month when I have to take SS at 62. This is NOT fair at all.

      VERY few people work in public employment for 30-plus years anymore, and fewer still make huge salaries and get big pensions.

    2. That is, 50-60 dollars a MONTH taken from SS thanks to WEP. That’s a lot of money if you don’t have much and there’s no spouse around to cushion the blow.

    3. Sorry to hear about your situation…

      Re. the law being passed under the table, that has basically become the norm for our non-leaders in DC…no one wants to make a decision and they definitely don’t want anyone to know how they voted. They are allowed to not vote so it won’t be on their record.

      Someone was telling me they are trying to or have passed a law that doesn’t let the public know if they make a suggestion to reduce the deficit as they don’t want people to know how they vote. How rediculous and undemocratic is that??

      Take care and we will keep fighting…

    1. L. weber, i do have a FB page. Also for the person who supports the WEP/GPO, get lost..LOL. My counterparts who have worked in public service all their lives and never paid into SS aren’t hurting and if I had the years in public service as i have in SS I wouldn’t worry either. but we, who didn’t devote all our career to public service are the ones being screwed. give me my frickin $$ then and stuff your WEP/GPO. I’m angry and the snakes who approve of WEP/GPO, I hope their momma’s proud of their selfishness for fairness for all people.

      on the upside, L. I will contact Warren. I also don’t get any response from the liar-in-chief. he said what was necessary to get elected…LIAR is what obama is

    2. @Pam, 4th freakin time I’ve tried to reply. Site must be having trouble. Will try again later. Posted the CNN transcript on my FB Timeline: Linda Weber, cover photo is a blue-eyed wolf, profile pic is also a wolf with an Indian girl. I can direct the transcript to you if you want. It’s disgusting !!

      Thanks Pam,
      Linda

  20. @Pam, glad you are contacting Warren. She may be our strongest ally. This blog site must have some filters on it that are preventing my messages from coming thru. Ok, if needed we can use direct messaging via FB. Thanks Again, Linda

    1. I am a retired police officer and we too are affectrd by the WEP. This is an issue of fairness. It might be worthy of mentioning the the National FOP has actively been involved in this for years.

    2. @Russ, very aware of your situation. I’ve been fighting this since 1982. We’re fighting for you as well. It saddens me that public servants like you who risk their lives daily have been penalized by this outrageous legislation. Congress calls themselves “public servants”…..guess there are the elite and the ones being penalized. Doesn’t seem fair that we have different levels of public servants.

    3. Thanks L Weber. I have been out of the loop on this repeal for a while. I became obsessed with it, now am just plain frustrated. I do know that the National FOP is still fighting the fight. My story is simple, like the majority of all retired police officers. We want nothing we arent entitled to. I paid into SS for years prior to my LE career and after (appox 20 yrs). If I was a CEO of a company or just plain rich, I would get my full benifit. Because of my small police pension, I will get around 30% of WHAT I PAID INTO THE PROGRAM!!! If we can be treated fair, then dont take it from us. Ronald Reagan put it to us all with this bill in the eighties. I do not know if a class action suit is a viable option or a legal one, but I and most of the retired LE community would jump on board. I dont think you can sue the federal government though. One question if anyone knows. If repealed, and you are currently recieving SS benifits, will the government adjust you monthly benifit and pay back benifits? God bless all of you trying to right this wrong.

    4. Hey Russ & Linda. I wonder if there is something we can do as a class action suit. However, Russ may have something in that I believe the government has “soverign immunity” or maybe not. Do either of you, or anyone reading this post, have access to the services of a lawyer. I don’t but would be willing to pitch in a little $$ for a look see into a class action.

      pam

    5. Hi Russ, thanks for your reply. I go through the same cycles you have gone through. Everybody’s story is a little different, but we all got “The Business’ from Reagan, and I cringe every time I hear him being glorified on the news. My story is dreadful, almost unbelievable. I was tragically widowed at such a young age, left with two small kiddos to raise and educate, left with house mortgage, car payments, etc. My kids lost every penny of their survivor benefits, received nothing college. I lost mine also, had to go back to school to complete my education degree, and SSI was supposed to be a family plan. As we kept our part of the bargain, the government and feds did not. I think Madoff’s in jail for that. My credit card debts mounted up, and I continue to pay them 31 years later. Now, that I reached retirement age, I only get a meager state retirement check. I’m so frustrated and disgusted that I’m seriously considering bankruptcy and ruining a life time of perfect credit. I think that in lieu of the GPO/WEP, our government should offer low-interest consolidation loans to us or bankruptcy forgiveness; however, corporate bailouts come first as you know. In his recent economic plan, Obama made a point that seniors should live in comfort even tho not rich…never specifically mentioning the repeal. He promised the NEA he would support the repeal. I have been writing Elizabeth Warren as she appears to be our strongest ally. I posted her link on this blog…..I urge you to contact her as I believe their is strength in numbers.

      On Social Security Fairness’ Facebook page, you will see we fight for you also and all those first responders. I do know there have been 3 class action lawsuits and all failed. It appears that SS does not fall under constitutional protection. Action must originate in the house, and with Republic domination, I have serious doubts the repeal will even make it to the floor. I’m wondering, though, if we are protected under the equality of pay act. Have not found anyone to answer that question.

      As for paying benefits retroactively,……..it’;s a fantasy for me as I am owed 400,000.00+ for the last 31 years…., so I quit dreaming, and will settle for my fair monthly SS pension.

      I hope you join Social Security Facebook page. We must and will stand together. NOW IS THE TIME. We simply cannot wait for a “til death do us part” deal from congress.

      I will continue to fight for all of us…THE TRUE PUBLIC SERVANTS. I hope you join me. I even contacted ACLU Nationwide who referred me to the local ACLU. They do not seem to understand that this is a national problem, not a local one.

      If I can be of any further help to you or you just want to exchange ideas, I welcome the opportunity.

      Semper Fi,
      Linda

      On the lighter, ironic side, did you know that in the animal kingdom, a large gathering of baboons is called a “congress”? I’m beginning to wonder if this is generalizable to humans !!

    6. Thank you Sergeant Gibbons. I hope you stay with us on this blog and will be looking forward for more of your input and ideas as we fight this battle. We’re all in this together, and I cling to the idea that there is strength in numbers (even tho I’m going out on a limb and speaking a civil rights atty very soon).

      It’s simply unimaginable to me that because we chose public service, our government, in turn, has chosen to punish us. I don’t believe for a second that we chose our professions to become wealthy…..and you can take that one to the bank! But, why penalize this population of people???

      Please stay with us where you will be so appreciated,
      Linda

  21. Hey Pam, SS is not protected under the Constitution. There have been 3 class action lawsuits….all failed. I’m wondering, tho, about the Equality of Pay Act that Obama recently signed. probably none of us have the $ to hire a civil rights attorney, but wondering if we could get it together enough to go thru legal aid. It’s a thought, and whatever, I’m in it to win it. Hope you read my response to Russ…maybe there will be something there that will spark an idea.

    READY FOR THE GOOD FIGHT…..COUNT ON ME, BABE !!

    1. Linda, your story is tragic at best. I don’t know how you have retained your composure over the years at the unfairness of it all. You are a class act my new friend. Why the ACLU can’t help us is beyond me. I don’t know abt the new legislation that obama signed. Legal aid, hmmm, that’s a thought. I’m in Ohio, where are you from & Russ, where are you from. I wonder if a start would be to contact the legal aid in DC or do we do it locally. Just a thought.

      Pam

    2. I wonder if the NEA would help us w/ the cost or offer us some guidance. Lots and lots of teachers’ unions endorsing the repeal of WEP/GPO, eh?

      Pam

    3. Hey Pam, don’t know about the NEA, but certainly can contact them on FB. Ya, my story has a heck of a lot more to it than I wrote. And composure….not always. I’m not very mellow or laid back in my writings. Actually, they are down right nasty. I’m combat-ready, but can’t find many shepherds, only sheep! But, I think too many people are too nice, kind, and too passive to take action. I’ve learned in life that you have to take the G.D. bull by the horns or I would have been DOA by now!

      Well, we’re both from Ohio, but don’t know where Russ is from. Thinking maybe we could “friend” each other on FB and have our own private messaging service, come up with some plans, etc.
      Whatcha think about that?? I’m up for anything, and Oh, I do have a degree in writing if that can be of any help.

      Let me know!

    4. Hey Linda, I tried to find you on FB, but there are quite a few people in ohio by your name. Can you try and find me on FB as there aren’t as many crabtrees that live in Holland, OH. I work at the University of Toledo. Also, is there anything we can do w/ WEP/GPO in the state of ohio? It seems like some states don’t recognize it and their public people aren’t penalized. Or, if I am mistaken and you have been fighting this injustice for eons, can you explain abt the difference in states.

      Pam

    5. Ok Babe…I’ll try to find you on FB as soon as I finish this message. 50 states are involved, 15 states punish educators, others punish other public service folks–police, fire fighters, postal workers, state, local, city, and some fed workers. There is some overlap. It’s FREAKIN INSANE!!

      Will try FB right now…and send friend request. Hope Russ will join us, but I know that FB is primarily a “chick” thing. LOL

    6. Hey Pam, can’t find Pam Crabtree on FB. Can you give me some info about your timeline cover photo and profile pic. You do live in Holland Ohio and work for the U of Toledo, right?? Is it a U of Toledo page I’m looking for or a personal one. I’m Linda Weber from North Canton, Ohio if that helps.

      Gotta figure this out some way. Surely we can out smart FB….LOL

    7. ok Pam, got an idea. Look up Lisa Bender Weber (daughter) from Massillon Ohio. You can find me there as a friend and find my fb page that way.

    8. Sorry it’s Lisa Weber Bender from Massillon, Ohio, graduated Jackson High Sch, works at Stark County. This should narrow it down.

    1. still can’t find you or your daughter on FB. Did you try Pam Crabtree, Holland, Ohio? Or go to my website and you can contact me through that venue.

      P

    2. Will Try……or Barb Bussard in Carrollton, Ohio might work. There aren’t many of her.

    3. WHOAH……you’re way out of my league. I’m only a mom, teacher, school psych. Can find you every where but on fb—–which states there are no search results for you. So I guess the easiest thing is to go to the Social Security Fairness fb page and find my recent post re: Elizabeth Warren. That should take you to my timeline. Don’t know what else to do !!

    4. morning Linda, ahhh, a school psychologist…you need to read my book b/c part three is abt therapy gone awry and how breaches and skirting of boundaries can be dangerous….for client and therapist alike. I have to run off to work but I’ll try and check back w/ ya.

      Pam

    5. A school psych plus supervisor plus adm plus 3 teaching degrees, but dropped one of them.. I’m old-school, old-fashioned and practiced during a time when we actually wrote thorough reports based on all areas of assessment; not only assessments.. Interviews with all involved parties, observations, clinical observations, child protective services, doctors, special counselors, etc.,…..well those days are gone forever. The last interns I supervised knew NOTHING, wrote 3 page reports, are advised to NOT identify disabilities. Watered down garbage it is. Did not meet my standards, and hurting my special populations.

      Plan to order your book from Amazon.

      And just learned no cola for STRS retirees this year. Next year only 2%, and our ins benefits can be cut or completely revoked.

      What a great way to start the week.

      Was thinking, my doctor is in Norwalk, Ohio, and I take the 20W interstate to Toledo get there. Fairly close to you if we can get it together to meet with a civil rights atty. Only a thought.

      Talk to you later, I hope!!

    6. Damn, now they’re talking abt doing away w/ our medical bennies..Crap, I’m already going to lose the $96.40 that reimburses me for the Medicare Part B they take out of my SS, starting in increments in 2014 and now they may not give us our COLA…I am not happy. I know they are dropping my hubby’s med coverage. Guess I’d better look for a full time job and not just work part time, eh?

      I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to meeting halfway Linda & talking w/ a civil rights attorney. Let’s do some DD on CR attorneys in our area, eh?

    7. Same here Pam with STRS. No COLA this year and was counting on it as my rent went up. Maybe 2% next year. Friends call all the time, but what can we do about it?? We’re all back peddling. Wanna watch “Soilent Green” again. LOL

      Talking to an atty soon about bankruptcy. Will ask about CR and Equality of pay. I have no other choice.

      Next appt in Norwalk is Oct. This is not the place to discuss my 25 year chronic illness—just one more hurdle for me, but this Dr. is one of 6 experts in treating my rare illness. Had a relapse last week; hoping to get better by mid-week.

      Let’s keep the dialog going; never know what one of us could come up with. Look forward to it AND FEELING YOUR PAIN !!

    8. Dont want to add salt to anyones injury but, I suffee from a spinal condition which required a surgically placed pain pump. I fought back problems for 25 years, working the entire time both as a police officer and in the private sector. It changed my life but, I cant bend or reach very far for fear of breaking the cathiter (sp) which I did in June. I had another surgery to reattach it. Doing great but am limited. My point….I looked into SS disability and my monthly benifit is about 1/4 of what I am entitled. Dont get your hopes up if you become disabled, they penalize that too. I paid into SS for about 20 years and I know people who paid very little if any and get full SS benifits. Amazing!!

    9. Russ, that’s so sad and I am sorry to hear about your struggles. And to add insult to injury you have women and to a lesser extent men, who never paid dime one into SS making tons more than we by virtue of the spouses. I don’t know, I just don’t know.

    10. Just heard on the news that mothers are beginning to re-use their disposable diapers because this item can no longer be purchased with food stamps. Just imagine the epidemic of disease for innocent babies. YUK INSANITY!!

    11. Linda, I know that you’re old enough to remember diapers…you know, those cloth things that needed to be washed in a machine. YUK to me are also those stinky “disposable” things that sit around all week in the garbage can smelling up the house. If they don’t have a washing machine & dryer (I didn’t when my kids were little and often times had to washing them by hand (now that’s YUK) and hung them on a clothes line), there’s always the laundramat! Why do we think that making things “easier” is always better? I, for one, don’t want to be paying for someone else’s kids to have disposable diapers. What I want is for Mom’s & Dad’s to get off the dole and get a job so they can afford to pay for their own “luxuries”. Then, and only then, with this damned government strat paying some needed attention to the seniors that are eating cat food!

    12. ok, go to the social security fairness fb page. recently posted there. can’t find you on fb or website. darn, how dare i think i could out smart zucker.

  22. Russ, I totally understand your situation. I, too, have been suffering from a chronic illness for 25 years. Went to work every day wondering if I could even make it through the day. It’s a long, complicated story and very difficult to discuss it here.

    Just wanted to let you know how important the interactions are among us. I think it’s good to be able to let it all out, but that doesn’t seem to be solving our problem. I intend to look into other options to resolve this issue.

    Your input, opinions, interactions are very important, and I sincerely hope you will continue the dialog. I know Pam is also awaiting your reply.

    I do understand and empathize…it’s the government that does not. Like I said before, everybody has a story….just a little bit different but with the same outcome.

    Looking forward to your next post, Linda

    1. Hey Pam, computer crash here, going thru repairs for @ 2 weeks now. Lost all photos and some FB friends. Cannot find you on FB…..did you change your profile pic? Maybe you can find me on SS Fairness and send a new friend request…..remember, I’m the one with the wolf timeline. Let me know.!

    2. Hi Linda, sorry to hear abt your computer troubles. nothing has changed on my FB page. I’ll try to contact you via FB.

      pam

    3. Great…..just look for the wolves !! Have not been able to keep up with SS Fairness lately. Need to catch up. Irony of it all is that Microsoft technicians caused all the computers problems. I am now calling Microsoft Security Essentials…..Microwave Security Essentials. Have been on the 4 days, 12 hours with techs…….I could not even screwed things up that bad, and I’m a true tech dummie!!

  23. One thing people should do, is talk to individuals they know are impacted by these discriminatory laws. Create an infographic showing an image of the person and then create a text block to tell their story…Divide your screen in 1/2 and display examples of people receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars via inheritances or capital gains showing they are eligible for full spousal death benefits. On the other 1/2 display real public workers, show how little they receive and how they will be thrown into poverty thanks to these discriminatory laws.

    Also identify “real world” examples of people (ie, politicians) who are allowed to “double-dip…” Example, Rick Perry has double-dipped and receives $200,000+…

    Also, display states that are not contributing their fair share to the social security system; no wonder there is a shortage…using the social security to pay other obligations is morally and ethically wrong.

    I understand this issue impacts all public workers, but it greatly impacts women as 80%+ of all public workers are women. This wil be a great topic to be highlighted during both the ’14 and ’16 elections as an example of the “war on women” and the “war on public workers..”

    The financiers have been allowed to create toxic investments and have overleveraged their debt to the tune of $2 quadrillion in toxic derivatives…this is not a good ratio. Time for people to get angry and expose this corruption before it’s too late…

  24. I contacted our Wv Senator Manchin about trying to get him to support the repeal. Also, to support retired LE officers from his county who are affected by this mess. I got a letter back stating he wants to make sure SS is around for our seniors but first we must get spending in order on the hill. Go figure. Smoke up my ass and I doubt he will support any repeal. I know the guy too. I googled NFL pensions just out of curiousity as I am a big football fan. I am not sure what it meant but am sure that it said something about players on disability (full and limited) can draw their nfl disability pensions and ss disability and can still make $30,000.00 annually! If true…WOW!! And they say we “double dip!”. We only want a fair return on what we unvoluntarily contributed! By the way, Obama said he would sign the repeal. Congress has to bring it to him first. The GOP and far left DEMS aren’t going to go for it. I have articles in the FOP journal from Obama v McCain and Romney. He was the only candidate to speak directly to repealing WEP. The others talked around it. But, again, it has to reach his desk. Good luck to all of you.

  25. I sent pres. obama a message advising him that I will be waiting for his budget, in the next few days, to see if he has addressed the WEP/GPO punishment for millions of seniors. I told him he can write an executive order like he did increasing minimum wage & help us who have been getting the shaft since pres. Reagan. I ended by saying obama promised to repeal the WEP/GPO & we’ve been waiting for years for him to keep his promise.

  26. I teach in Alaska where the teachers do not pay social security. I worked for years in low paying jobs to earn my necessary credits for social security long before I came up here; however, the very instant I draw my first retirement check from here I will lose about 80% of my social security. Why? It is a bunch of baloney that we have to have everybody paying into social security for everyone to draw on it. There are thousands of immigrants, disabled, etc who are drawing on it who haven’t paid in. Why? I did pay in all of my life. Why am I being penalized in wanting my own share back, what I worked for? Exactly what does double dipping mean? Why is it o.k. for military people to retire from the military and then work in another branch of the government and earn retirements from both? Obama likes to wield that executive pen, let him wield it to get rid of the WEP/GPO!

  27. I worked for over 23 years at hospitals and nursing homes. Then, I worked for 10 years as a public schoolteacher until my medical conditions and stress factors made it too difficult for me to continue to do so. Having been a widow and surviving spouse since my deceased husband’s suicide when I was 8 1/2 months expecting in 1987 has not been easy. Now, becoming disabled, at the age of 54 (which actually happened over four years ago), I am facing an uncertain and frightening future. With a mortgage and other financial expenses, I was forced (for obvious reasons) to use nearly all of my teacher’s retirement. Due to unfair and unreasonable Social Security laws, I will not be able to keep up.

  28. I worked under social security since I was 16 yrs. Old, and worked for the Federal Government for 20 yrs. Why must I be punished with getting less for my S.S. and others that never worked a day in this country are getting part of my S. S. That I paid in when I Worked since I was16 yrs. Old? Is this being fair? Don C. Schwartz

  29. I retired from the Postal Service in 1992. Because of Monihan, and even though I earned 25 quarters for Social Security benefits my Social Security was reduced because I retired from the Postal Service. Also, now my wife receives a higher benefit for Social Security and again if she dies I will not get the higher Social Security benefits like millions of other Americans because I retired from the Postal Service. The Supreme Court ruled that the bill introduced by Monihan and passed was unconstitutional, yet it continues. Doesn’t the Supreme Court rules mean anything. They make rules and the government ignores them. This bill and the method of collecting school taxes, which was declared unconstitutional almost 15 years ago, are totaling ignored.

  30. REPEAL WEP/GPO!!! Please acknowledge the unfair, wrong, underhanded, dishonorable and thief by WEP/GPO and REPEAL it!!! Thank you!!!

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