Action Alert #75 – Wake Up Those Public Workers!

Question:       How do we get a bigger voice?

Answer:          By reaching out to active public servants!

Seventy million Americans receive Social Security retirement benefits. But there are only two million retirees who have our earned Social Security benefits either reduced or totally eliminated by the Government Pension Offset and/or the Windfall Elimination Provision.  There is talk about how Social Security doesn’t do “means testing,” but our SS benefits are lowered because we have a public pension.  How is that not means testing???  GPO and WEP are WRONG!

How do we get enough people behind our cause to make a difference? 

There are millions of active workers who will be affected when they retire, but Americans are notoriously bad at planning for retirement. In addition, the offsets are so illogical, confusing and unfair, that very few people understand what awaits them.  Every five years the Social Security Administration sends out statements telling workers the amount of money they can expect upon retirement. Only recently have these statements contained a clear explanation of how the offsets work. Many people still don’t understand how they could lose something they have worked for all their lives.

Public employers are required to inform new employees when they first start work if the pension they will be earning will affect their SS retirement benefits. Employers don’t want to discourage new employees, so they just do the bare minimum—have them sign the paper.

Unions don’t want to discourage their members, either. They will put up a fight for even a small pay increase, but they leave the fight for repeal of these offsets to their Washington offices, even though the offsets will cost their members thousands of dollars every year when they retire.  Noise has to come from those affected!

We need a bigger voice!  Nothing much is likely to happen in Congress until after the election next year.  In the meantime, we have a chance to gather our troops.

You can do this:

  1. Print out some copies of “The More You Work, the More You Lose” (click here) and give them to people who work for public agencies that are affected. Encourage them to talk to their union reps and ask these organizations if all their employees really understand the WEP and GPO?
  2. When they have questions or concerns, send them to our website, and ask them to sign up for Action Alerts.
  3. Encourage these organizations to post information about the GPO and WEP on their local and state active member websites.  (Many times this information is only put on websites for those already retired.)