Action Alert #58 – Remind Mr. Obama!

Social Security Works sent out a reminder that we have to continue the fight against the Chained CPI:

“Last year, President Obama put a Social Security cut called the Chained CPI in his budget.  Since then Americans from all political stripes are calling for Social Security to be expanded—not cut. The question is: will President Obama listen? The State of the Union address will be January 28th, and the President will preview his agenda for this year—an agenda to which he’ll attach dollar values in his budget.”

This is also a timely reminder from for us to include the President in our own lobbying. Here is a link to the President’s comment page. Please copy and paste the wording below into their “Comment” box:

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Dear President Obama,

When you were first running for President you told us that you would repeal the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision. You knew all about these unfair offsets, since they affect Illinois employees as well as public servants across the country.

We were hurt when our public employers didn’t pay FICA taxes for us, and now, as a double penalty, we lose some or all of the retirement benefits that we earned in other work.

Stand up for what you know is right! Repeal the GPO/WEP and strengthen Social Security!

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Remember that our website,, has all the recent Alerts that are still relevant on the front page. You can still use the links on #56 to remind your Legislators by using the NEA link and, using the story link for AARP, let them know how we have been hurt.

Thank you for keeping our message going!

Here are a couple of stories from our members.  You are not alone! :


“My mom had two pensions dissolved by bankruptcy and now she will lose 40% of her Social Security because she has to work as a county school district kitchen employee. Who would have thought that Reagan would have targeted school lunch ladies for their *windfall*?”


“I paid onto Social Security for 11 years and then worked for KCC for 26 years and paid into SURS. Now because I worked for an educational institution, they will significantly cut the Social Security benefits I have paid for and earned??? The State of Illinois is also in the process of reducing my SURS benefits AFTER I HAVE RETIRED and fulfilled my part of our contract. Who in their right mind will take a job in education on the State of Illinois unless they can’t get a job elsewhere (the bottom of the barrel)?”

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  1. I worked 26 years for the USPS and payed social security before that and also payed social security for working a second job while working for the USPS then after i retired i continued to work and pay social security for 6 more years. I payed for my social security just like everyone and i should not be robbed by a law that was unfair from the start. I served my country for 8 years in the military and i payed for my social security and yet year after year our elected officials continue to do nothing about this unfair law. How can the members of our congress and senate expect us to put up with this law that only allows some people to receive their benefits and other to be robbed.

  2. Dear President Obama,
    When you were first running for President you told us that you would repeal the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision. You knew all about these unfair offsets, since they affect Illinois employees as well as public servants across the country.
    We were hurt when our public employers didn’t pay FICA taxes for us, and now, as a double penalty, we lose some or all of the retirement benefits that we earned in other work.
    Stand up for what you know is right! Repeal the GPO/WEP and strengthen Social Security
    Thank you!

  3. Dear president Obama, I know you care about the little people who have worked all our lives in service to others. I worked as a nurse for almost 15 years (way over 40 quarters) and accrued social security without paying much attention. Then I went to work as a school nurse for a county office of education which had just voted to drop social security. When I decided to retire about 62, was I shocked to discover in would get $200/month from social security instead of the$1700 my husband snd daughter-in-law get. If it weren’t for myhusband, I could not live on my strs! Certainly, I could never support myself!
    Thanks for caring….m

  4. I was one of those “well paid” teachers who had to work during the summers the make ends meet. I worked at jobs to supplement my income. I paid Social Security taxes at each job. The unintended consequences of the “do-gooder” law are far reaching. I was never exempted from paying into Social Security in those jobs and my employers were not interested in my protests about the taxes. So, I paid unwillingly knowing that my teacher retirement would penalize me for earned Social Security benefits. I get approximately 30 cents on the dollar for my benefits. The Reagan WEP/GPO Act was the slickest “legal” scam/swindle the country has seen. It exceeds the losses the Japanese Americans suffered during WW II. (However, they were compensated for their losses nearly 50 years later with depreciated U.S. dollars.) I wonder if our congressional leaders would settle for 30 cents on the dollar for their lofty retirement program? My congressmen turned his back on me when I raised the question to him. Great representative!

  5. After 22 years of teaching, I know a lot of teachers who worked before, during and after their teaching careers to help support their families and they paid the full social security required by payroll. Now we are older and retired and living on less than we should because of the wep. How is that fair? Please do as you said you would and repeal this unfair discrimination. Sincerely, Irene Lackey

  6. After working equally in both CalStrs and private employment my own SS benefits are whipped out and my widow benefits are slashed. I was never told by either employers or SS that I would not get my fair share of benefits. As a single low income women the reality is a life in poverty as a senior citizen. I voted for you, Mr. Obama, for many reasons and one is the fight for public service workers who are be denied their fair treatment by Social Security Administration. Please fulfill your promise and see WEP/GPO end!

  7. I retired from teaching school after 34 years . My husband paid in social security all his life. If I had not worked I could draw social security from him/ Since I did work i cannot draw a cent . My friend never worked and is able to draw half of what her husband draws. This is unfair! Do we want to punish people for working? This is what is happening in America.

  8. I paid into Social Security for more than 32 years when I started teaching Public Education at 50. I will not have some good Teacher retirement unless I teach until I am 87!!! Lucky kids! I still pay into SS because I get minimal money from old TV shows I did. If I had known it would cut my SS because of teaching Public Education I would never have taken that job though I do love teaching. WHY is this fair? ( I pay way more every month into teacher retirement though I will get virtually nothing.) Please change this!!!

  9. I, and many other teachers I know, paid into Social Security working private sector jobs, before beginning work in public education and during week-ends & summer vacations to make ends meet. Imagine, people that love children & are excellent teachers must often work outside their profession, so they can afford to teach! Now in their retirement years when they no longer work, they can not have the money they earned. Please right this terrible wrong & help return the quality of education to it’s former strength. Only those who can’t get work anywhere else will become teachers(bottom of the barrel) if this continues and our government of the people, for the people, by the people will continue to rob those who give the most!

    In addition, my deceased husband’s Social Security is not available to me because I chose to teach for 32 years while he also worked. I and others like me are punished for working!? This is attitude is going to destroy America, if left unchecked, since it’s individual initiative & working hard that made our Country.

    Social Security reform is essential for America to return to strength & greatness. Repeal the Windfall Elimination Act and the Government Pension Offset now.

  10. I am not able to draw my husbands Social Security because I was a teacher. I don’t draw very much because teachers in Kentucky did not pay as much as the surrounding states. I sure could use the money I could get from his Social Security.

  11. Dear President Obama,

    When you were first running for President you told us that you would repeal the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision. You knew all about these unfair offsets, since they affect Illinois employees as well as public servants across the country.

    We were hurt when our public employers didn’t pay FICA taxes for us, and now, as a double penalty, we lose some or all of the retirement benefits that we earned in other work.

    Stand up for what you know is right! Repeal the GPO/WEP and strengthen Social Security!

  12. I had worked two jobs when my kids were small so my wife could spend more time with our children and now I get cut back 2/3’s because I was trying to provide for my family.Please change’s a plain discrimination case if I ever saw one.

  13. However, there is one thing you are overlooking, perhaps the most unfair bill to do with Social Security. That is WEP/GPO that is so unfair to a few retired educators while the majority get treated right. I have paid into SS since I was 16 years old, but because I taught school in MA I can not collect on the money I paid into Social Security. It is just not Fair. It needs to be repealed.

    Thanks, Luther Beal

  14. I paid into Social Security from the time I was 15 years old, but since I taught school in California for 24 years, I am denied my full benefits. How can that even be legal!? My husband of 51 years paid into it since he was 14, but I will receive none of his benefits if he passes away before I do. Why? Because I was a teacher in California. Why in the world are teachers in a few states being targeted? I was counting on my pension and Social Security, since I retired with only 24 years in the STRS system. It wasn’t until I signed up for Social Security that I found out about this “windfall” mess. I think teachers should be rewarded for their hard work (and it is really hard) not betrayed by the country they have so diligently supported. This is unbelievable and just plain unfair. Please repeal it.

  15. You don’t even have to have a “big” pension to get the shaft by WEP. I get only 300 a month from having worked in Nevada public employment, which I had to take early thanks to be un- and underemployed for the past six years. Even with that tiny pension, I STILL will get my Social Security reduced by 50-60 a month or more thanks to this horrible legislation. What was Congress thinking, if it was thinking at all? My understanding was it was put in there to begin with to discourage high-paid military personnel from collecting large pensions in both public and private employment, but what this has done is absolutely devastating people who are NOT career public servants (starting out in their twenties or thirties), yet don’t have enough years in NOT to get our fully paid Social Security penalized to an extent.

    This horrible law needs to go–NOW–but I will believe it when I see it.

  16. Just so people know: If you have at least thirty years in paying into Social Security, you are NOT subject to WEP.

    1. It doesn’t do me any good, for I have “only” 24-25 years in “substantial” employment, and I STILL get the shaft because I get such a “huge” pension of 300 a month.

      I can’t even get any regular work AT ALL, and I doubt I ever WILL, yet this theft continues.

    2. What you’re saying is not totally true. You must have 30 “good” years to not be affected by the WEP. What are considered “good years” keeps increasing every year.

    3. You didn’t read my response. I noted “substantial employment” in the post.

      That is what you have to have. You can’t just work seasonal jobs or substitute jobs and that count toward the 30 years. It basically has to be full-time work.

      The whole thing is arbitrary and based on work experiences of employees in 1978. That is when many people worked for one company for their entire careers and never got laid off.

      It simply isn’t true today. It simply isn’t true with public employees as well as private industry employees. Most of them didn’t start out in their twenties with one public employer and stayed with that employer their entire careers to get any kind of decent pension. Most are like me with itty-bitty ones and still get screwed.

    4. Correct, except the wording includes “substantial” earnings. For each year of work over, I believe, 20 years, your percentage of loss in the WEP is decreased. But then comes that word “substantial.” I had 23 years under SS, but some of those years I worked part time, or changed jobs for family reasons or obligations, so I earned a lower salary for that year, thus reducing my years of substantial earnings. Remember also, that in the 60’s and 70’s women’s salaries, especially, were menial, at best. If you have from 21 to 29 years the percentage of loss is reduced.

  17. I retired from the U. S. Air Force after twenty-seven years and I paid into Social Security every year. Then I taught school in Texas for only eight years. When I applied for my earned Social Security benefits, I found out about the WEP and my earned Social Security was cut by about $100.00 per month. My wife retired from the Texas Retirement System (TRS), and she will be totally denied her spouse benefits because of the Social Security GPO. She will be denied her own earned Social Security benefits because of the WEP.

    It’s just no fair that this should happen to anyone who has served their country as I have.

  18. It is past time that the bipartisian supported repeal of Social Security penalties for teacher and others (WEP/GPO) become a reality. Your help is needed. Thank you.

  19. We have paid our FULL dues into two different systems so why are we being penalized for asking to receive what is due us? We are not asking for anything that is not ours. 30 years under the government and retired, 26 years paying into social security when I applied for my SS retirement. I lost about half of my SS Retirement. I am still working full time and still have to pay into Social Security even though I will NOT receive anything for my current Social Security Payments.
    WHY???? IS THIS FAIR???? No!!!!!

  20. I worked over 30 years and paid into Social Security and 10 years for a City Government. I even called
    the Social Security Office and was told I was completely safe from this off-set. I retired from Government
    at the age of 66, two months later received notice that my benefit would be cut because I only had 21
    years of substantial earnings. My Social Security was cut by $300.00 per month. Mr. Obama, please keep your campaign promise and repeal this. This is a terrible thing to punish our working class. I am now 70 years old and having to work at a minimum wage job part-time to make ends meet.

  21. I worked as an elementary teacher for 15 years before taking an early retirement package offered by my district I was 57 and was needed at home for family health problems.I continued to work part time for adult ed pay teaching intervention classes, eventually teaching full time. I worked until I was 78. At 65 I applied for social security spousal benefits —-denied—– because I had the fantastic retirement income of $700 mo.!!! That would be ” double dipping” !!! I am 80 now and if anything happens to my husband I am not entitled to survivor benefits which all my friends get whether they worked or not , as long as they did not work in the “much revered” profession of teaching the future citizens of the world!!!! This WEP/GPO is the most unfair, discriminatory piece of legislation in recent history. My husband worked 40 years paying into social security for his family, I worked 35 years teaching youngsters to respect their country and its laws only to have my country turn its on back on me. If this is not changed soon I will be living at a poverty level. Please HELP !!!!

  22. Will Mr. Obama be able to use his EXECUTIVE ORDER rights to REPEAL WEP & GPO, or, is the Ways & Means Committee the only body in our government authorized to do so?

    1. i understand it is in the Obama budget which passed…..but i do jot know if he can bypass ways and means which is republican controlled..

    2. All this started with the Reagan years with them trying to control the deficeit,and now our Gov’t continues with their antics because they can’t control the spending which they are reckless and need to be held accountable.They will continue this recklessness until the American people vote all those responsible out of office.Oh. did you know the Congress,House,etc get all their College for their children paid free my the taxpayers??This all has to end!

  23. Dear Mr. Obama,

    Can you use an Executive Order to change the WEP portion of social security. At one time, there was a bill supporting repeal if a retirees combined benefit (social security plus other pension benefit) was less than a preset amount. This seems like a fair place to, at least, start to end this…..A means test. There are many women living on very little because of this policy. If not for my husband, I would be one of them. I want what I earned in benefits. Had I not gone into civil service, I could get all of my social security. Punished for working, most of my life, sends a terrible message.

  24. we voted for you and the congress to help us to repeal gop/wep wecan not live on the small pension the s.s.a. took away from us we worked for the money it is unfair for the us who worked for it .we need your help to repeal s.s.a. thank you.

  25. Dear Mr. Obama, You have stated so many many times how you are for the Middle Class and want more equity in income. I am a firm believer in working and earning our way in this world. For those approximately 4 million retirees who fall under the punitive and unamerican policies if WEP/GPO we DID work in some of the most demanding and important careers in America. And because of these policies, we are robbed by our government of hundreds of dollars a month of Contributed and Earned monthly benefits. In addition, we will lose most to all Survivor Benefits at the passing of a spouse. All because we have worked and paid into both SS and a Private Pension. We did this to supplement incomes. We did this because we followed our spouses in Military Careers. We did this because we entered or reentered the workforce after raising families. President Obama, you were on our side in 2008 during your first campaign when you said you would work for the repeal of these punitive laws. We are too small a group to matter to anyone. Please help us by standing for us and working toward the repeal of these misused..misnamed..punitive..unamerican policies.

    1. I agree with Jean 100%. I just finished my federal income taxes, I was reminded that I’m taxed again for the little social security benefit that I do receive.

  26. If Obama is anxious to apply a large amount of budget money to illegal immigrants; he should also help his own country’s citizens by repealing WEP/GPO which only a 2% expansion in Social Security.

  27. I have commented before on this site and have written to President Obama twice. My question to the President was can you reverse this with an executive order. Disappointedly my replies did not answer the question….can he or can’t he! Obviously, NOT! Therefore, with a Senate with a one party majority (which will be the case in January) may be our only hope of getting this changed. I have written to my Senators requesting action on their part to reverse, in particular, the WEP. The Offset and WEP need to be addressed separately to even give those of us effected a chance of this being overturned. Congress has become stagnant, and I no longer expect much of anything, but maybe, just maybe, if enough of us write to our Senators and Representatives, we could get this small issue reversed. This small issue shouldn’t effect their bottom line of protecting their political positions. But this “small issue” for them is an extremely BIG deal for those of us who lost benefits and are reminded every month when we receive our WINDFALL-adjusted monthly slap in the face. Write, write, write! They need to get sick of hearing from us!

  28. I retired not knowing about wep and gov off set. I raised three sons while my ex husband worked, I divorced and returned to teaching for fourteen years, although I paid into SS for 20 years and my ex over fourth years, I receive 225. total SS my pension is less than a thousand dollars, I worked hard, spent my own money on supplies for students, sent two children through college on my teacher Salery. Thought I could retire at 66 and not have to worry, now I am at poverty level, the worry of losing my home has aged me to the point, I don,t think I can return to a full day job, I get letters from SS every few months, they keep reducing my small 225. I don,t know who to ask for help, I need to sell my home, everyday is a nightmare. If I had the promised SS I would have 1400 a month, what a difference my life woul be.

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