—Current employees don’t know about the offsets, so they make erroneous plans for retirement.

—We need to reach active public workers who don’t know about the offsets and get them involved. This will give us a larger constituency to pressure Congress for repeal in 2017!

—Use our new flyer to inform current employees of what lies ahead!

Those of us who are affected by the GPO and WEP have a pretty good idea of how they work and are pretty darn sure that both offsets are unfair!

Many current public employees still don’t know about the offsets or only have a vague idea of their effects.  In a recent study of active teachers in California, half of them did not know if they would be affected by the offsets. We rely on our worker associations to inform us. Many any of the people in union leadership and other one-career professionals know about the offsets, but they often are building large enough public pensions that the loss of Social Security retirement benefits does not seem to be a big an issue for them. They don’t realize the devastation that can be caused to others by these offsets.

Then, there is the issue of younger people believing that Social Security may disappear or be of minimal value to them when they retire. Wrong!  Benefits may be reduced if Congress doesn’t implement some fixes, but it will be there.

Congress will be stuck in the usual pre-election morass for the next year or so. Our job for the next year and a half is to reach out to current union employees and let them know that YES, Social Security retirement benefits will be there and its benefits will be important to them.  They will, however, be affected by the offsets, unless they are repealed. We need them now to help us get Congress to repeal the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision.

What to do:

Pick your local or a larger association of active public workers as your target.  Keep after them! Get them to publicize the offsets, so that their members can be prepared as most of us who are retired now were not.  They need to know that they must get life insurance early and to begin saving a greater amount of their paycheck than they might do ordinarily to make up for the shortfall.  They need to know that the amount that the SSA tells them they will be getting is wrong and that if they are expecting any benefits from their spouse, they won’t be getting those, either. They need to get onto our team!

Go to ssfairness.org to find out “more information.”  That page has explanations from several different agencies and associations.  The latest Congressional Research Service report is online there, also.

Attached and below is a one-page flyer that you can ask your target group to share with their members. (Click on the title to get the printable PDF to give them.)

 

The More You Work, the More You Lose!

Do you work for a public agency that does not participate in the Social Security system by deducting F.I.C.A. taxes from your paycheck but, rather, contributes to a pension system? If so, you know you aren’t earning SS credits on this job, but also—When you retire, you will lose part or all of the Social Security retirement benefits you have earned in other work or as a dependent or surviving spouse!

 

Penalty:  The Government Pension Offset–GPO

Many people do not realize that if you have been married for ten years or more to someone who has earned Social Security benefits, when you retire, normally, you will receive an additional amount equal to one-half the amount your spouse has earned. But if you have one of these public pensions where you don’t pay into Social Security, you can lose $12,000 or more a year of your earned spousal benefit.  If your spouse dies, you can lose double that, ALL the death benefits other families rely on. (You get your own SS earnings if they are more than half your spouse’s, but those earnings get reduced by the WEP)

Penalty:  The Windfall Elimination Provision–WEP

Most people rely on the statements that the Social Security Administration publishes every year estimating your future retirement benefits.  DO NOT DO THAT.  If you get a public pension, no matter how small, your Social Security benefit earned from other work can be reduced by an amount up to half the amount of your public pension!  This has a huge effect on multi-career people!  Most people lose $400 or more a month, but the amount can be much more.

What can you do about it?

  • Pressure your union or employee group to make it a major priority to repeal the GPO/WEP.
  • Write your representatives in Congress. This is so unfair!
  • Get more info and join the group at ssfairness.org.

Defend yourself!  Find out how much you will lose. Get appropriate life insurance on your spouse. Plan your retirement knowing that you will not be getting as much as the statements say you will! Make sure that your lawyer or broker understands the effects of the offsets when making financial decisions about your future!

 

Become informed!  Be vocal!  Talk to public servants affected!

8 Comments

  1. My wife and I are hit with these unfair programs. I’m retired military and retired educator. My wife is a retired education. The WEP hits me and the GPO will eliminate all of her social benefits.

  2. Economic Policy Institute: COMPLETELY IGNORED: A LAW THAT HAS MADE AMERICAS PUBLIC SERVANTS AND RETIREES THIRD CLASS CITIZENS! Before Social Security is expanded, there are some grossly unfair existing and mysterious obscure laws that must be corrected and resolved: IT’S SOCIAL INSECURITY for millions of public servants who never had the opportunity to invest in our own private annuities because we thought of Social Security was our safety net until we discovered GPO/WEP confiscated our earned and paid for SS pensions. The little I did save was lost during the crash.If you talked to those people affected by GPO/WEP, you’d be shocked and outraged because of individual extenuating circumstances. What makes me so sad is it’s not just about money. It’s about our long, hard working lifetimes stolen from us. We will never regain or relive those years. The GPO/WEP has created yet another group of poverty stricken American taxpayers, another minority group so to speak without any personal control, awareness. consent, or knowledge. And another thing that should not be overlooked nor forgotten is the brutal effect especially the GPO had on our surviving children at college time, resulting in mounds of student loans and credit card debt. This is why I have always maintained that our government should give LOW INTEREST OR NO INTEREST CONSOLIDATION LOANS to those of us affected by this ridiculously unfair law….in lieu of our so called “borrowed” .. That would certainly help us get back on our feet in our golden years and regain some portion of our lives that were lost as we believed in SS. . Visit us at http://www.ssfairness.org to educate, protect, and prepare yourselves because this obscure, 32 year old law could be affecting you without your knowledge as it did me. Join our site to receive monthly newsletters and take our national survey.. LIKE our Facebook page for important daily information, alerts , updates. THIS IS WORSE THAN ANYTHING MADOFF DID, AND HE SITS IN PRISON!! Thank you.

    Repeal the Government Pension Offset & Windfall Elimination Provision to insure government worker retirement security. Help insure Social Security benefits.

    ssfairness.org

  3. COMPLETELY IGNORED: A LAW THAT HAS MADE AMERICAS PUBLIC SERVANTS AND RETIREES THIRD CLASS CITIZENS! Before Social Security is expanded, there are some grossly unfair existing and mysterious obscure laws that must be corrected and resolved: IT’S SOCIAL INSECURITY for millions of public servants who never had the opportunity to invest in our own private annuities because we thought of Social Security was our safety net until we discovered GPO/WEP confiscated our earned and paid for SS pensions. The little I did save was lost during the crash.If you talked to those people affected by GPO/WEP, you’d be shocked and outraged because of individual extenuating circumstances. What makes me so sad is it’s not just about money. It’s about our long, hard working lifetimes stolen from us. We will never regain or relive those years. The GPO/WEP has created yet another group of poverty stricken American taxpayers, another minority group so to speak without any personal control, awareness. consent, or knowledge. And another thing that should not be overlooked nor forgotten is the brutal effect especially the GPO had on our surviving children at college time, resulting in mounds of student loans and credit card debt. This is why I have always maintained that our government should give LOW INTEREST OR NO INTEREST CONSOLIDATION LOANS to those of us affected by this ridiculously unfair law….in lieu of our so called “borrowed” .. That would certainly help us get back on our feet in our golden years and regain some portion of our lives that were lost as we believed in SS. . Visit us at http://www.ssfairness.org to educate, protect, and prepare yourselves because this obscure, 32 year old law could be affecting you without your knowledge as it did me. Join our site to receive monthly newsletters and take our national survey.. LIKE our Facebook page for important daily information, alerts , updates. THIS IS WORSE THAN ANYTHING MADOFF DID, AND HE SITS IN PRISON!

  4. Hello,

    Thanks for keeping us on top of things.

    I have already written to the government, and my reps. Apparently, money is the issue.

    Still, don’t understand why they did this provision in the first place. Wasn’t it suppose to help lower middle income people? Then why would they take once retired? In the end, the tax payer pays more than had he/she had taxes taken out of pay….like you say, it’s very unfair.

    Kind regards,

    Linda Aidan

  5. I have contacted Congressman John Shimkus’ office on several occasions asking if he supported the repeal of GPO/WEP. Although I am promised a response each time I call, one has not been forthcoming. I suspect he does not intend to co-sponsor or support the repeal.

  6. I can hardly believe you are still pushing this “pressure your representatives” strategy. After 32 years is it not clear as a bell to you yet that our politicians are NEVER going to repeal GPO/WEP? Dispute your penalty to SSA, use the steps, the hearings, the reconsideration, then use the EAP (expedited appeals process) to SUE THE GOVERNMENT IN FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT!! That’s what I am doing; if everyone did this we’d have a valid class action suit and, because the WEP is obviously unconstitutional, WE will overturn it! Forget politics–GO LEGAL! GET YOUR CASE REVIEWED IN FEDERAL COURT. WE CAN DO IT!! Quit wasting your time asking politicians to do it. They never will. Don’t you get it? Follow me to court!

  7. Hi there: We all need to do two things, one more effective than the other: (1) write to Hillary’s Clinton’s camp — Americans for Hillary (research email address); and (2) follow Ric Robson’s case in the federal court (Northern California – San Jose). Here is a synopsis of Ric’s case and how we can all file as individuals, too:

    The case is filed in Federal Court, District Northern Ca – San Jose …
    THIS IS NOT A CALIFORNIA COURT … and NO … the Court’s hands are not tied…

    Because SSA are grossly abusing the legal system … forcing people to fight the very same issues in each Federal Court Circuit as though they aren’t really “federal courts” …

    By the time I get through with my case, I’ll be filing a “Qui Tam” lawsuit in EVERY Federal Court Circuit nationwide (“Qui Tam” means , “on behalf of others who are unable to plead on their own behalfs” ….It sets precedent for a never ending sequence of “representative actions” —- 2,700,000 of them).

    At some point, if you want Ric’s email address, please email me and I will email him asking him if it is okay. In any case, please email him (if you want to) and just thank him for trying. He is at least being proactive, a lot more than the National Educator’s Association, who in my opinion, are lame ducks!!

  8. Hi:

    It’s me again.

    Dear folks: I have drafted a letter that you can all send to Orrin Hatch (mail, not email — drive them crazy). All you have to do is fill in your name and email address. Feel free to change the grammar if you find errors — my proofreading skills are a little lax at my age.

    Please go to your nearest Senior Center and ask if you can leave copies of the letter at their facility explaining to the officials what we are about and what is happening. I hope this will help us. Relying on Congress to give us our money is useless without severe impetus to do so. Let’s keep on trucking. Hope all have a Happy Halloween. Boo.
    ————————————————————————————————————-
    Senator Orrin Hatch
    104 Hart Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510
    (Phone): (202) 224-5251

    Dear Senator Hatch:

    I constantly run into persons who are subject to the above. I also run into people who are working after full Social Security retirement age and are STILL paying FICA taxes!! At the same time, please review the below statistics taken from the SSA website. After reading them, please tell me WHY hard-working seniors who want just a few years to relax before they are too crippled to enjoy life have to pay the price.

    The below are FEDERAL statistics for SSI for 2015. What’s unnerving is that Republicans can’t seem to agree on helping the 2,700,000 (and growing seniors) who are affected by WEP and GPO (WEP, at least) but can somehow manage to help people who never contributed a red cent!!! Bottom line is, UNLESS these persons have ever worked the 10 quarters required by Social Security within a 25-year period, WHY should they be getting money from the federal government, and simultaneously, those of us who have worked all our lives and even AFTER public service are still paying into Social Security, are getting severely penalized?

    I know you are not the sole decision maker, but you do have power to influence Republicans who started this whole WEP / GPO mess in the first place.

    SSI Statistics for 2015 for total recipients from ALL SOURCES:

    August 4,442,450
    September 4,501,128
    October 4,431,106
    November 4,432,780
    December 4,457,177
    January 4,461,870
    February 4,485,697
    March 4,571,868
    April 4,532,988
    May 4,516,858
    June 4,565,460
    July 4,474,716

    Please tell me WHY Republicans can’t get behind passage of H.R. 973 and S.1651? This letter is being circulated to other seniors as well for information and follow up by you. If some people in Congress feel the WEP/ GPO law is unfair, enacted by Republicans in the first place, why can’t the rest of you folks do the same? It would be nice if you could respond to this last paragraph.*

    Sincerely,

    My name and email address is: ______________________________________________

    Reference: http://www.ssfairness.org
    ————————————————————————————————————-

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