Action Alert #55 – GPO/WEP —The Real Social Security Rip-off!
After a much-needed summer break we are back! Time to ramp up again our (barely controlled) outrage over the way we have been cheated of the retirement benefits we have earned.
There are many groups who are demanding that SS be strengthened.
Check out this video:
Let’s tell these groups to make it fair at the same time by eliminating GPO and WEP! Can you suggest groups we might target? Do you belong to any of these groups? Please let us know on our blog (find the blog below this Alert on the right side of our homepage, ssfairness.org) or email us using our contact form.
We will be targeting some of these organizations over the next couple of months.
In the meantime, please practice your story on 5 family members or friends using the explanation below. It is surprisingly hard to talk to friends about this. It takes practice. Give it a try! Here are some ideas you may want to start with. Then add your own story:
In the early 1980’s there was an effort to strengthen Social Security.
Contributions were increased and the retirement age increase was projected.
Along with these changes, the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision were instituted. It was a way of “getting back at” public employees who whose incomes were not covered by the FICA system. The trick was to regard the government pensions produced through this employment the same as Social Security benefits and to use that earned pension amount to reduce the amount workers would get from a separately earned Social Security benefit.
The WEP cuts Social Security benefits by up to nearly $4,000 a year. The GPO usually eliminates ALL spousal benefits, often including all death benefits also.
These non-(Social Security)-covered federal, state, county, special district and local pensions are different and completely separate from Social Security.
Contributions are made at different rates and the payment plans vary.
Government pensions usually are fully taxed; Social Security benefits usually are not. This is not “double-dipping.” These are often partial pensions and were earned at different times than Social Security employment. There is no reason to make one offset the other. There is no provision protecting low-income earners from these offsets.
The WEP and the GPO affect about 2 million retired workers. Most of these people were never told by their employer or by the SSA at any time during their employment that they would lose all this money. (See the Congressional Research Reports for more detailed information)
Eliminating these totally unjust reductions will only cost 2% ($8-10Billion) of the annual Social Security retirement benefit expenditure. We earned it! They owe it to us!