Action Alert #63 – Obama Says He Wants to Know How We Are Doing!

The President says that he wants to know how folks in the country are doing. OK, we can do that!
This is a perfect chance to tell him how the GPO and WEP are affecting your life.
Click on the link below.  Where it asks who you are, click on “American” and tell him you are retired, or choose one of several other identifiers.  Then you can let him know what a rotten deal the offsets have been for you.
(There is room in the box for a fairly long statement-the box gets bigger as you write) You can send him a picture of yourself, if you like. He needs to remember that we are still out here!  As there is more talk about “fixing” Social Security around Washington, this becomes more urgent.  Go to:

And, if you missed it two weeks ago, here are the instructions again (re-worded by CalRTA) to make your statement to AARP:

AARP is asking for policy input by July 31 so now is your chance to share your story and explain why the WEP/GPO are so unfair! AARP is collecting comments online:

AARP Policy Survey

Step 1: Click in the yellow box at the top of the page, “Click here by July 31 to submit your feedback.”

Step 2: Answer two quick questions about yourself.

Step 3: Under “Pick a Chapter” select “Chapter 4 – Retirement Income” (this is where they list Social Security).

Step 4: Under “Chapter 4 Categories” select “Government Pension Offset/Windfall Elimination Provision.”

Step 5: Type your personal comments in the comments box. Personal stories about how these penalties impact your life are the most effective.

Please share this action alert with others who are affected by these unfair penalties.



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  1. I am on a teacher pension in Texas of 2500 a month. I cannot actually live on this. I have a few credits of social security but not enough to draw benefits. My husband has been contributing to Social Security since he was 17 and is now 65. He is waiting to retire because he wants to maximize his benefit if possible. However, if he were to die before me I calculate that I might get 800. a month as my spousal benefit due to the WEP. Could I live on 3300. a month …I know that i couldn’t. I probably would have to go back to work in some capacity. Actually only guessing if I would even get 800 a month. To me I have been married for 43 years and the money given to Social Security created a sacrifice on both our parts. I should have access to this money. I should not be penalized because I taught school. Everyone knows how poorly teachers are paid and that our salaries grow slowly. Plus I am a Texas teacher…one knows how poorly we are paid.

  2. Please work to repeal the WEP/GPO penalties for those of us who receive Social Security benefits. I worked for some 20 years in Critical Care Medicine and I am being penalized (I receive half of what I have ALREADY CONTRIBUTED to Social Security) because I chose to change careers and teach in public education.
    NOT FAIR !!

  3. I worked for 20 + years as a teacher and administrator in California public schools. I receive a very small pension which I took at the age of 55. I am being penalized now.

    I left the publc education to go into private business and have been paying full into social security for over 22 years. Because of my work in public education I only can receive half of my social security benefits. That is unfair. Who benefits from my full social security contributions if it’s not me?

  4. I am a retired public school teacher and I am currently still working out of choice, am in good health and very content despite a profound sadness at the way the country I love is heading! That’s how I am doing , personally. Thanks for asking.

    I remember hearing during your campaign that you thought GPO and WEP penalties should be removed for people who receive Social Security. I contributed that money when I worked in the private sector as did my employers. That’s my money. I earned it doing honest work during school vacations, holidays, weekends, so I could afford to engage in my passion – teaching! I also worked full time in the private sector before teaching in our public schools for 32 years. I’ve always had a job, since I was 15, even when studying at university. Do you mean to take away the incentive for people to work hard to improve their circumstances? Is it your intention to create mediocre schools that do not attract people whose passion is teaching? I am still very close to the public school setting and this is precisely what is happening, since young people can not afford to teach, even though they want to do so. I personally know young people who are choosing other fields, despite desire to teach and fine ability to excel.

    In addition to this concern, is the issue of our retired people who taught for many years, giving to our nation’s young; they are struggling financially and may be in declining health. What a shameful way for such devoted experts to be treated when they retire! People who have lost a spouse & can not have money from their spouse’s Social Security is also creating terrible hardship. I know of many Seniors who are directly effected by this terrible inequity. It’s un-American and it’s going to eventually erode our way of life. I recall hearing it said that a nation’s enduring success is dependent upon how well it’s citizens are treated and how happy and secure they feel!!

    It is a an enormous mistake for this set of concerns with Social Security to be left as it is. Please use your influence and power to support Congress in repealing GPO and WEP before any more damage is done.

  5. WEP is definitely unfair!! I notice that SS had no compunction about taking my money up front but they certainly don’t want to give it back! I paid a lot of money into my retirement fund with the City of San Jose as well as to SS but because I chose to work in public service, I’m getting penalized big time!!! Congress needs to repeal this act — and in all fairness should repay what we’re due!!

  6. How do you think we are doing, I have sent you email in the past, you emailed me back saying basically no way is there a chance to repeal GPO/WEP. I receive $294.00, should be receiving $800+per mo. Shame on you, Reagan should have never past this unfair bill. I don’t understand why no President since repealed this awful injustice. Please help us. Don’t know why this email never gets to the right people. I know the government has used up all the money, which they had no right to do so.

  7. I worked in public service for the majority of my life. I also worked other jobs to qualify for social security when my husband and I retire. It’s an important part of our retirement plan. Under the current system I would be severely penalized if anything happens to my husband and I won’t even qualify for social security benefit on my own. This is really unfair especially when we worked to contribute. Please make this change.

  8. How is it fair to take away from people that has worked and especially paid into SS be taken from them forcing people that has worked all their lives for some to live in poverty because they have worked for government/county job also. The WEP and GPO is so unfair.
    . .

  9. How absurd is this? According to SS staff, if in1989 I had inherited enough to never work again, or won the lottery and never worked again, or if I had gone on public assistance and never worked again, my SS security at 62 would have been $2808.00 a year higher. But having worked for a state university for the last 22 years of my employment I was penalized that amount. Since both SS and SERS are supposed to be based on ones contribution how do we justify the reduction. If this policy wasn’t so sad, you’d have to laugh. My 839 a month was cut to 605, then adding medicare B it fell to 500, had to drop my dental policy and from what I’ve gleaned from others I am one of the lucky ones, many have lost a lot more of what they are rightfully entitled to. Who in the hell comes up with ideas like this? Its a penalty anyway you look at it.

    1. In fact, my social security should have been almost $800, they took away 60% so I now have 320 monthly. This, because I earned a minimum pension working in Italy.

  10. Dear Mr. Obama:

    Only “you” can bring this issue into the forefront. The politicians pander us — including, unfortunately, the Democrats. This unjust law has been on the books for 30 years (the REPUBLICANS did it), and what’s worse is “we were never told about it until it was too late.” Politicians “lie to us” and constantly present floor bills that never get passed. Stop lying to us, politicians and DO SOMETHING!! For widows, such as myself, that extra $440 per month that I am losing towards WEP is very, very painful. And what makes matters WORSE under WEP, is that the deduction amount KEEPS GOING UP, EACH AND EVERY YEAR, even if you work longer. Further, under WEP, you can STILL be paying your FICA taxes after pension income, and STILL be deducted under WEP — not like the GPO formula where if you contributed simultaneously to both your government pension and Social Security for the last five years prior to YOUR retirement, you’re safe. I can only imagine the widows’ pain of losing ALL their GPO benefits. It is unfair. It really is, Mr. Obama.

    At the very least, under WEP, a sliding-scale formula should be used — on number of years worked over 17 (no WEP deduction) and also, like GPO, “if you paid into DUAL retirement systems SEVEN (7) years prior to your retirement date, (just like with GPO) there should be no WEP penalty.

    Please help us. You, sir, can orate on this issue. You can vocalize about it for us. Thank you, sir.

    1. Your sliding scale idea makes no sense at all. I think everybody who paid into the system should get his or her full benefit.

      The assumptions made in WEP/GPO are based on faulty ideas and from an economy long ago where people worked their entire careers in one job hence the 30-year rule for WEP/GPO. The assumptions are also faulty in thinking public employees automatically get “good pensions” when few of them anymore work 25 or 30 years in public employment. You are screwed over on WEP even if you work in public employment only 5 or 6 years and get a measly 300 a month in a pension.

  11. Just more of the same old story. Say anything that will help gain votes. The president mentioned this travesty
    any number of times when running the first time. I pay pretty close attention to this issue, and I can not remember him so much as mentioning since that first run. I’m one of the suckers that bought into it. You’d of thought at my age I was done falling for that self-serving crap! Live and learn.

  12. all,

    I’ve written obama more than once asking him to honor his campaign promise to repeal this unfair and discriminatory law to no avail. He really doesn’t care to be an honorable man. Too bad he isn’t paying as much attention to this injustice as he pays to the immigrant issues, eh? I’ve also e-mailed, contacted my legislators, for years now to no avail. This bill is introduced and then put in committee to die. Sorry I’m so negative, but this is my first-hand experience.

    1. The fact that the number is changed year to year ( makes it difficult to track) and never comes to either floor for a vote tells you how most of our legislators would vote and that vote would become public. A negative vote would hurt them as it relates to retirees, so dont hold your breath.

    2. Pam, this is another Pam. I am from Texas and have done exactly as you have. I have contacted my legislators and the President several times but still have not heard from any of them. Thanks for your comment.

    3. Pam Orr, do you know if it is possible for the president to sign an Executive Order repealing this unfair law while Congress is in recess for Summer? I don’t know the law well enough to know that question but if he can change the law in obamacare, couldn’t he repeal the WEP/GPO?

  13. It’s one thing to know about an injustice and say you favor repeal of it but an entirely different matter to do something about it. I guess Mr Obama was just playing politics to get the vote. If he favors the chained CPI which would decrease cost of living raises for all seniors then I don’t think he really cares about the public servants receiving what they earned and paid into the system. I am cynical that nothing is ever going to happen to fix this wrong that affects our public servant seniors yet we send billions over seas to countries who don’t like us and blow billions on immigration.

    1. Our elected reps are kinda lily livered. The SS fairness bill never makes it out of committee, because they already know how they would vote, and that vote would cost them the future vote of a majority of retirees.
      Bring it out, show some guts, let us know where you REALLY stand!!

  14. Mr. President: Can You HELP? GPO/WEP has been a tremendous hardship for me, and my husband for years. I am 77, and he is 83. Together we worked over 60 years to insure a secure retirement. Vernon worked 5 jobs at one time, even though he has Hypothyroidism, and later Cancer, from radiation leakage at the Hanford, Wa. Nuclear Plant in the 1940’s, as a young man. I worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 29 years, 17 different Postal Facilities. Consequently, GPO did not entitle me to any spousal benefit, half his Soc. Sec., at 65, and even as a widow, 100% upon his death benefit, when my income will be cut in half. Father time is running the show, and waiting umpteen years for an up or down vote to repeal in Congress is an endless charade of vacuous promise! You’d think, That Fairness in Soc. Sec., would be an unassailable RIGHT. WRONG! People’s lives, shortened, shattered, and dying for an act of adjudication on the swindle of their original earned rights, (before Presidents Carter, and Reagan’s ADUSTMENT To Soc. Sec., in 1983). What an abominable situation that festers like rot in Congress! President Obama, I believe you’re the only person who has, not only the clout, but the POWER, and an honest desire to put an end to this travesty of arbitrary injustice. Please, if you can, within the realm of Executive Order, REPEAL the GPO/WEP, provisions of Soc. Sec.. It would only cost 2%, of the total Soc. Sec. budget. Give 5 million people, Teachers, Firefighters, Police, some Federal workers, State, Municipal, and others, their monies that have literally been stolen over the years. It beggars the heart, that the cost for so many has been so great, and the desire to repeal SO LITTLE, in Congress. Just Shameful! To parody a phrase, seems “Like Congress is a grindstone, and GPO/WEP is our nose”. Respectfully, Grace Pascal

  15. You promised during your campaign to repeal the WEP/GPO. To date you have done nothing. I’m in need of my money. My husband passed away in March but I did not loose my bill’s because of it. You taxed us a married couple how can you say now that we were separate. Why was this not explained during our working and paying year. Government is literally stealing our money and that’s a crime. He’ll yes I want what’s mine.we missed out on children’s activities due to working not this government or anyone else who chose not to work. We didn’t intend to finance free phones, shelter, medical care, food and whatever so other’s could benefit from our hard work. They can pay their own way. That’s what I think of literally theft under my nose.

    1. Don’t whine about poor people, please. Many of us affected by WEP/GPO have to use public assistance. We WORKED for years and years and years and STILL work, yet we don’t make enough to get by. Don’t assume the poor are bums.

    2. You sound ridiculous. I never did and never would accuse poor people of being bums. I am talking about WEP/GPO here. Social Security money was never meant to be mixed with other monies. There are less fortunate people and they do have certain programs for them but Social Security money is not to be mixed with that money. I know what my husband and I worked for and am asking for nothing less than we were promised when began we our careers. I have no problem with helping those in need and do everyday. Last but not least to this conversation a lot of people are in their situation through no fault of their own and they know who they are then there is the other half and most know where they fit into the equation. Thank you.

    3. Agreed. S.S. is based on the # of qtrs paid in and the # of dollars contributed. SERS or STERS are based on the # of years and the amount of ones contribution. The 2 things meet at no point. How does one affect the other? It’s just made up crackpot legislation designed to reduce S.S.’s payout. If S.S. can arbitrarily cut my monthly in a bogus attempt to save $, whats to keep SERS from doing the same because I receive S.S.
      One line of reasoning is every bit as absurd as the other. Our legislators are simply not concerned about retirees or they would take a closer look at this and bring the S.S. fairness act to the floor for a vote AND I know a lot of retirees who would love to see how these jokers vote. Vote against it and lose a lot of favor with retirees, so MAKE SURE that it NEVER comes to a vote. Simple.

  16. WEP/GPO offsets are based upon POMS regulations. If you took a lump sum you will have the offsets deducted and based upon your life expectancy. The facts are, if you look at the POMS (program operational manual) your life expectancy has been reduced to about 40% of what is shown in the SS actuarial tables.

    Lets say at 55 you took a lump sum. You life expectancy is about 27 years. You would expect that the monthly amount would be the lump sum divided by 27 years times 12. However the Commissioner has decided to reap a windfall by reducing your life expectancy to 12 years. This means your deductions are over 2 times the amount. The real kicker is that you will have deducted, not only the full amount of your pension, but it will be deducted over again and again up to three times. So if you got a lump-sum of $25,000 when you were 55 years old, you will have a total of $75,000 deducted from your SS checks.

    Fair and equal, I find this is a huge windfall for the SSA. WHY DO YOU THINK YOU NEVER HEARD ABOUT WEP/GPO UNTIL YOU FILED FOR SS? The states get your pension payments to use for 20 or 30 years. Then pay you your lump sum. The SSA loves this agreement as they too will get your full pension and get it three times over.

    You think I am kidding – look for your self in the POMS section of the SSA web site. You will see the actuarial charts showing you how your life expectancy has been drastically reduced to produce a HUGE deduction from your SS monthly check.

  17. Dear President Obama: I have written to you several times and the latest reply last week said you were
    listening to me. Well, I appreciate that. But, I need you to do more than listen. Time is running out for me before I have to retire. I do not wish to retire at poverty level and suffer. Just this summer I found that I
    have health problems that must be addressed. Also, the school system where I work has decided to reduce
    substitute salaries because of a budget problem. I need to retire with all my social security and teachers’
    retirement. Both together is barely enough to suffice.
    Please go over congress and either repeal this terrible law or amend it so that both social security and
    state retirement together can be allowed to be $1800..00 or $2000.00 monthly.
    You promised to help us back in 2008. It has been 6 years and the promise has not been kept.

  18. I was stunned when I retired due to health and harassment from a uneducated person with a criminal like background. I had never been told anything in regard to the
    windfall act. You feel like you have been robbed twice. People that stay home and let their spouse work only do better than people that go to work in a helping profession. We cannot get our own Social Security or any of our spouses. That is like being robbed twice but not by a gun carrying thief but by the government. We who are caught in this situation are treated like third rate citizens while our government provides for people who sneak across our borders and are not citizens. Doesn’t our government see this is wrong? We should have choice between our spouses Social Security or our reduced OPERS or other
    government pension and our social security. My first husband left us (3) children after insisting I not work for years. I had to start all over. I would have likely been better off going on Welfare and staying there.
    I grew up taught that you pulled yourself up and tried. That I did and this is what I got. If you consider
    what happened to people in this situation you get very angry because we are tried like non citizens.
    Perhaps this is why we have a Welfare Society Now. My present husband is ill and he is a veteran that worked all his life and served his country. Now he has to worry about me in his twilight years.

  19. I’m a retired Veterans Service Officer in Ohio. Upon retirement from the county an offset was done due to WEP reducing my Social Security benefit by approximately $400.00.Medicare will begin this year in July. I am already getting information in the mail regarding Medicare supplemental programs. The approximately $400.00 lost due to WEP would have gone a long way in the selection of one of the supplemental Medicare programs which with the medical problems I have I surely need even though I have VA medical coverage. Dear President Obama Please publicly support the repeal of WEP/GPO. Thank You in advance for your support, It’s the Right Thing to Do!

  20. I started working and paying my social security taxes at 15. I worked my way through college by working evenings and weekends those 8 years. Then I continued to work all through my teaching career of 35 years because teaching does not provide enough income to survive and support a family. I returned to college for an advanced degree in my teaching area. I taught thousands of children with the motivation to produce outstanding citizens. All this time I paid into Social Security. Now I am told I can’t get the Social Security I worked for and earned! Why am I penalized because I became a teacher? How unfair! So many of us are returning to work in some capacity to supplement our retirement at ages 70 or more. Again, we are paying Social Security taxes. Please repeal this unfair law. We gave so much to society. Don’t forget us.

  21. I started working and paying my social security taxes at 15. I worked my way through college by working evenings and weekends those 8 years. Then I continued to work all through my teaching career of 35 years because teaching does not provide enough income to survive and support a family. I returned to college for an advanced degree in my teaching area. I taught thousands of children with the motivation to produce outstanding citizens. Now I am told I can’t get the Social Security I worked for and earned! Why am I penalized because I became a teacher? How unfair! So many of us are returning to work in some capacity to supplement our retirement at ages 70 or more. Again, we are paying Social Security taxes. Please repeal this unfair law. We gave so much to society. Don’t forget us.

  22. Mr. President, throw us a bone. You said GPO’s and WEP’s were unfair when you ran the first time. I know no shortage of retirees that took that to heart and voted accordingly. WHY no mention of it since? Something we’re not aware of influence you? If so please tell ue what it was. I’d very much like to pick up a dental policy but simply cant afford it thanks to an almost 3K reduction in SS. Thanks for nothing!

  23. It really wasn’t the republicans who started the g.p.o. And w.e. p. It was Dan rostenkowski from Chicago. It was signed under Ronald Reagan but with a democrat house and senate. It has been in effect for so many years under both republican and democratic leadership that blaming one party over the other seems rather shallow and useless. No one has fixed it!!!

  24. I live in NV and worked for Clark Co. I am now subject to the WEP on PERS retirement. When hired on the WEP was not fully disclosed to us. WEP is in only 5 states which I feel is very discriminating. After they reduce my Social Security by 2/3 and then take out Medicare (which is mandatory) and after they take out my secondary Insurance (which also is mandatory) since we ALL must have insurance and I agree. I have $1000.00 a month to live. Mr. President how many of you Politicians can wrap your brain around that. I have friends who live on less than $1000.00 a month. WHY do we have to have WEP. How do these government employees get away without paying Social Security. We as employees should have at the least, had the option to have Social Security withheld from our paychecks. If All employers including government paid into the Social Security System, we would not be in the mess we are in. If you don’t pay people enough Social Security to live on, you subsidize them another way with another government program.

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