ACTION NEEDED THIS WEEK and NEXT

(put this on your calendar to do):

  1. Call and write your Congresspersons.  Support H. R. 711.  house.gov

Tell them—H.R. 711 corrects the faulty WEP formula.

H.R. 711 was written to be cost neutral.

  1. Californians, Tell Feinstein’s office to sponsor this in the Senate!

REASONS WHY H.R. 711 IS NEEDED

It fixes the formula used to apply the WEP and reduces the penalty

The WEP is WRONG for the purpose that it purports to accomplish because its current formula over-assesses penalties and affects people in erratic ways.  H.R. 711 uses a new system treating non-Social Security (FICA) contributing earnings in the same way as regular earnings which have been taxed to pay for Social Security retirement. Under H.R. 711, our non-SS-covered earnings are added toour SS earnings to get a better picture of our lifetime earnings.  It then adds a formula to correct for the fact that those not paying into SS during most of their career look like low-income earners who get a higher rate of return on their Social Security contributions. This new process corrects the original faulty mathematical formula of the WEP.  It will provide a 50% relief for persons who have not turned 62 by Jan. 1, 2017.  The correction is somewhat less for those who are older.

We do agree that the whole idea behind the Windfall Elimination Provision and HR 711 is UNFAIR because it pits the pension you receive from a public agency against the Social Security that you have earned in other work.  Contributions to the public pension we receive are made at a different rate than FICA contributions to Social Security.  Formulas for taxing pensions differ from those used for taxing Social Security and are not even consistent from state to state. Balancing part of our income against Social Security retirement benefits looks just like means-testing. BUT there is little chance to totally repeal that injustice now.

REASONS TO COMPROMISE OUR TOTAL REPEAL POSITION

Some of our strongest advocates who have fought for years for total repeal are seeing that the only hope for change is in compromise, as in most governmental decision making.  After 10 years, even strong GPO/WEP repeal supporter Senator Diane Feinstein has given up the fight, asking for another more attainable solution.   “Give me another suggestion,” her office told us.  In 2017, the Social Security Administration will have new powers to double-check the source of everyone’s earnings to more consistently apply the GPO/WEP.  No longer will some slip through the cracks and escape these penalties. This is a one time funding source to lessen the burden of the WEP.  Many longtime lobbyists supporting complete repeal for the GPO/WEP feel that if the WEP is modified, it will offer a chance for later modification of the GPO.  This may be our only opportunity to capitalize on both the momentum and the newly available funding.

The H.R. 711 bill ensures that as long as the Windfall Elimination Provision is going to be administered, it is done accurately.  It can save people as much as $2,000/year.  It will bring the issue of both the GPO and WEP to the attention of Congress.  The more our Representatives know about the WEP, the clearer will be their understanding about the faulty reasoning behind both the offsets.

Support H.R. 711!  Tell your Congresspersons and your Senators why we need this NOW!

14 Comments

  1. I do not support this bill unless it is amended to include Substantial Earnings. Without an amendment, I will lose about $400 to $500 a month if the bill passes.

  2. I don’t like the idea that the bill will provide less help for those who turned 62 before 2017. I have been supporting legislation to abolish WEP for 10 years or so and feel I should get my just due. And how do we find out how much this bill will help us?

  3. I fall under GPO. My income is just enough to keep me from rec any benefits. Dec’d husband worked 55-60 yrs & pd into SS. I rec 1/3 of his SS. if I only could rec couple more hundred. I would be able to purchase food for a whole mo. Both House& Senate rep are Republicans. Congress man Ralph Abraham replied to my inquiry re his stance on GPO/WEP. Nothing bout these issues, just usual Blah Blah bout running out of funds in 2033. No use contacting Senator Vitter. They could not care less bout this group’s plight.

  4. I have tried to read and understand this bill, almost impossible. Am I to understand that regardless of the bill passing they are going to adjust the payments based on a new formula, and collect what they perceive to be over payments from some retirees.
    The bill would redistribute those funds to other retirees.

  5. WEP/GPO SHOULD BE TOTALLY REPEALED PERIOD.! We have no way of telling if the new formula will be helpful or just another trap to steal earned benefits from more American workers. What do you mean by no longer will some slip through the cracks and escape these penalties?? NO ONE SHOULD BE PENALIZED FOR WORKING AND PAYING THEIR TAXES OR DUES. I made less money per hour in my public position of ten years than I ever earned in my 30 years of private work. The Substantial Earnings clause eliminates 9 years of my PRIVATE work years because an unreasonable earnings threshold of $21,700. + Per year must be earned to qualify the year as substantial enough to count as a earned benefit year. If I had continued in private work less than $5,000. Per year qualifies as an earned benefit year. In every one of those eliminated private years I earned more than enough wages to qualify as a benefit year and paid the associated Social Security taxes from every paycheck. WEP TOOK ALL OF MY Social Security Disability monthly benefit of $1055.00 and it will cut my Social Security benefits to the bone.
    So I am a Disabled American that worked 30 years in private industry and another 10 years in a very low paying school position for special needs children that has been denied the benefits I earned and paid for. It’s horrendous and most people find it unbelievable and hard to comprehend when I explain it. It’s only allowed in fifteen states. Just repeal it and pay us what we earned.

  6. On a more personal note there are hundreds, if not thousands of entries on Facebook, Twitter and other social outlets explaining each person’s story/history about themselves as it relates to the SSA in regard to the WEP and GPO. We have written to Congress and our Representatives about this unfairness.

    I, personally, received my Widow’s Pension while I was working. My husband died in 2010 after putting in to SS for over 50 years thinking i would get at least part of his social security. I did get about $1500, but 15 months after I retired (2016), it was taken away. I worked 18 years putting in to SSA, my husband over 50. I changed jobs after the 18 years not knowing it would affect my SS retirement. I went to work for a mental health organization in the 70s, then went to work in the 80s with an education service center for public schools. In 1998 I went to work for a public school system. I retired from a public school with a total of 29 years. SSA took away my Widow’s Pension a year after I retired because they didn’t read the paperwork I sent in….THEIR FAULT, NOT MINE. I am now having to pay for the SSA’s overpayment, leaving me with $200/month from SSA, no widow’s pension!

    A secretary’s salary at public school institutions make very little money so you can imagine what my retirement check looks like. That along with the $200/month is barely enough to make it from month to month with bare necessities. Not to mention if something breaks down and needs repair or replacement, going to a movie or out to eat … forget vacations altogether! ABSOLUTELY NO LITTLE EXTRAS.

  7. I am totally confused by the current WEP/GPO and don’t understand the changes at all. For six years I was a tenure track faculty member in a state school not allowed to pay SS tax or join the state retirement plan. We had a “self-funded, mandatory” plan at TIAA/CREF with limited funds to invest in. Neither the number of years or wages for those years are counted towards my SS benefit. Fine, but why do I get a penalty on top of that? When my job terminated in 1999 the self-funded plan was worth about 60K, but I did not roll it from TIAA/CREF until 2006 since this now my personal retirement fund and no part of the University system. But for some reason SSA is using the 2006 worth as the lump sum to penalize, not the value of the retirement when I left my job. This penalty is calculated based on life expectancy from the SSA table. I have a document that shows how my GPO penalty is calculate but it uses the wrong value for the my life expectancy. By all SSA tables and calculators I will live to 86 but the paperwork I have states that I will only live to 76. Using this value doubles penalty I get for the next 10 year. At that point SSA will have takes the max they can from me but I have been told eaftthat this penalty never ends even when the GPO 2/3 or the WEP 1/2 limits have been reached. This is stealing my money plan and simple. Furthermore when I was convinced to collect off my ex-husbands benefit by SSA staff no one told me that the GPO would take 2/3 of the untaxed benefit as compared to the 1/2 value under WEP. I was not told I would have to sign a lie each year as I do not receive a monthly retirement benefit. I would like to see more authentic paperwork accounting for these penalties. I have paid in 22 years of SS tax but will loose about 45K from these years due to the penalty. Policeman and first responders, as well as federal employees are exempt from WEP/GPO why aren’t state teachers? IF I had gone to work at the NIH rather than remain a state University teaching I would be exempt from the WEP/GPO. I would like to know how the government can justify such discrimination. I have never worked in the private sector, I have always been an educator in state Universities, and knew nothing about WEP/GPO until a SSA employee called me started accusing me of not reporting that I have a state retirement plan. I have no such thing. I have a one time lump payment. Every time I have a question regarding this issue, SSA increases my penalty, first it was 195/mo. then 395/month and now it is over 400/month.

  8. The WEP/GPO must be repealed. It is totally illegal in my opinion. I had requested it in (The Plain Writing Act) from Obama and not received it.
    This was not made to take money away from poor hard working people.
    If you pay into SS you should receive what you are entitled to, including spousal benefits. It should have nothing to do with any Government jobs which your paid into a different retirement plan. This is the United States of America, where everybody is supposed to be treated equal. This makes working for the Government a disgrace. It is no different then me saving for future by stuffing my mattress and the Government coming and taking it out.

  9. Bernie Frank should have to live on what the average retirees live on. (That is if he is still alive.) Also our leaders in Washington need to make a trip to the grocery store before they consider the cola for next year.

  10. Repeal of WEP/GPO is the only equitable way to do this. Don’t give up on us Sen. Feinstein. I’ve waited 10 years for justice. Let me put a real face on this, me. I did everything I was supposed to do. I worked after school 5-6 days a week from age 14. I earned a scholarship and worked through college to pay the rest of the costs. I married a Viet Nam Vet and worked to put him through college. He did use the GI Bill but it wasn’t enough to keep him in school and support the family. All those years I paid in to Social Security. Then when my son was born I stayed home and raised a good kid who now contributes to his family and community. I stayed home until he went to school. Then I returned to college, got an education degree and became an educator. Once again I worked while in school and paid my own way. I’ve never even taken out a government sponsored low interest loan. I’ve always paid my own way. My marriage lasted 20 years. My son worked his way through college also. We don’t ask for help, but we are owed what we’ve paid into Social Security including spousal benefits . If I had never become an educator I’d be getting whatever pension I’d earned from a company and the Social Security or spousal benefits. Why would any legislator believe it’s fair to only take this from educators, police officers and firefighters? This is truly a terrible piece of legislation that must be repealed.

  11. I just retired from a school system not a teacher just one of the staff. What I make for retirement and what social security takes from that, how am I suppose to live. That’s the question our congress should be asking us. If congress would look at what we make they would laugh. This is not fair to me having to try to make ends meet. It is impossible. My social security is from my husband. So AARP get on the band wagon.

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