Action Alert #96 – Be Relentless!

Be Relentless: Tell them like it is! Despite the large number of political concerns these days, we must continue our persistence!

The D.C. offices are still open during August! Go to or to find phone numbers for legislative staff.

Members have suggested some short and punchy phrases that will stand out as we keep up our squeaky wheel approach to Congress. Do any of these hit home for you? Try them or develop your own and share them with us:

I paid for all these benefits—I deserve them!

My husband paid for benefits for me—I deserve them!

• This country relies on teachers, the police and firefighters. Why does Social Security shaft us?

• We have a big teacher shortage, but why would someone from another field jeopardize their retirement by becoming a teacher?

No one told us that our Social Security would be cut to practically nothing! • Congress didn’t require employers to tell new employees that they would lose their Social Security until 2005, after I retired!

• As a low-paid school bus driver (secretary, clerk, postal worker) the WEP really hurts me.  I lose a bigger chunk of my Social Security benefits than higher earners!

I worked two jobs to make sure my family was covered. Now my Social Security benefits are cut almost in half!

My husband paid into Social Security for 35 years before he died, but I get nothing??!! • Other widows get their husband’s Social Security benefits, I deserve my husband’s, also!

My divorce settlement said I should get Social Security benefits from my marriage. I don’t get anything!

• My husband died and, since I lose ALL his Social Security, I am losing my house!

• My half a teacher pension means I lose $12,000 every year in spousal benefits, earned while I was a stay-at-home mom!

The GPO takes away ALL of my spousal Social Security. Then the WEP cuts my own benefits! I can’t win!

The “squeaky wheel” approach: every month send an email or make a call to your members of Congress and say these things. Over and over! As of this week: 148 co-signers in the House—37 of them Republicans!


  1. Marian Cruz says:

    I worked and earned my Social Security benefits. I’m penalized and receive only about 1/3 of my benefits and receive NONE of my deceased husband’s benefits.

    I know that people that worked in PERS and paid into Social Security are receiving their benefits, which they should, but so should I!

    This is unfair and I’m being denied benefits that I should be receiving.

  2. Joseph Brasher says:

    I paid SS for 30 years. When I retired from the state my SS was cut because of state work I think that is unfair when the govt. is handing out chunks to people who have never worked. Repeal this law.

  3. Roy Newell says:

    Although I paid into Social Security for many years from out & summer employment, I am receiving very little benefit…about $250 per month. My wife, who paid less into it, gets $700.

  4. Janet Gipson says:

    I am among the many retired teachers punished because of WEP/GPO. My husband passed away in 2008, and I can only get $12 per month in widows benefits because I retired under Texas Teachers Retirement System. I applied for my own SS benefits, but there was a penalty. Because of WEP/GPO I lose $700 per month. I can’t walk nor stand without pain, so that is why I had to retire. Am raising a grand child, so I applied for part time work from home jobs to make up for the lost benefits. But so far no one has hired me. It’s hard to be old in the USA.

  5. Police officers are also penalized by WEP/GPO. I have a modest pension from the D.C. Government for my services as a Police Officer. One of the reasons I continued working after retiring was to pay additional dollars into the social security system, I ended out receiving half of the social security that I was supposed to because of the WEP/GPO.

  6. Elene Waters says:

    In September of 2008, my husband of 45 years passed away. He was 66. Until he was diagnosed with lung cancer, he was working as an engineer and teacher. For the four years he was sick prior to passing, he was on social security disability. After he died, I called the SS Office and inquired as to what part of his SS benefits I might be getting. I was told I wouldn’t be eligible for anything because I was teaching full time. I retired in 2012. This does not seem fair to me as my husband worked very hard all of his life and wasn’t able to use his benefits! It is not fair that because I was a teacher for many years that I could not draw on his account! It is bad enough I taught in Illinois and worry about getting my pension I paid into every month, plus not getting anything from SS that my husband put into when he was working! Please vote to repeal the GPO and WEP bills as soon as possible! I would greatly appreciate it!

  7. sharon keenan says:

    Social Security has document rules made from nothing to reduce our Social Security Benefit paid by us with payroll tax and also by our employers. Who is spending our money. We are not double dippers. I worked for a state government for 10 ten years and 19 for either Federal/Private paying into social security. Because the last 10 years before retiring in 2010 I went back and worked for the state less than 2 years therefore, I am being docked 40% of what I actually paid in according to the annual statements received by SS. Another bad attribute to the way SS handles WEP workers is: there is no estimate calculated, they can’t do that until you actually turn in your request for retirement. That is so unfair, there is no way to plan. And I don’t know now what would happen to me if my husband dies and I claim the higher SS, I am afraid they will dock that money too, putting me right back where I was when I first starting working, barely getting by. All the stuff going on and all the repeal this WEP/GPO has been floating in House Ways and Means committee for more than 20 years, come on guys we are on to you. Repeal this year not when we are dead like OBamas budget.

    1. I have left messages to the people in Congress. No one cares! They are set for life but we struggle. I worked 27 years private sector and 13 for school and getting penalized. Had I known about this I would have never worked for school system.

  8. Patricia L. says:

    I believe all this is well and good. But I am getting very discouraged because nothing really happens. We can write and call and they probably ‘laugh’ at us because we have so few who do this. We need a grassroots of thousands of people afffected by the WEP and the GPO also, who are willing to go to the media, get out and have marches, we need to become public. UNTIL THEN, I don’t see this going anywhere. Its been 34 years and counting, has anything happened to change anything? NO. I rest my case.

    1. I’m on your side. We need a grassroots of thousands of people affected by the WEP and the GPO also, who are willing to go to the media, get out and have marches, we need to become public. ALSO we need to get e-mail addresses to contact people in order to move this forward to go to D.C. and have mass protest this will bring attention to those that no nothing of this. the public needs to know that this is going on to our seniors

  9. Kenneth Barychko says:

    The WEP/GPO, in my opinion is like a Felon, convicted and still out on bail for thirty-five years.
    This Repeal should be acted upon “Now”.
    As I previously mentioned, this law is in my opinion illegal.
    If you take money from what the people paid for, it is called stealing.

    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.
    I have sent emails to CBS 60 Minutes News and requested them to dig into this problem, they should have been following for years. I believe they have the strength to bring this out to the public people of the US. They should grill government that have kept this a secret for many years, and let the hurting people affected tell they’re stories.

  10. Pamela Crabtree says:

    This is the contact info I sent to all my Ohio legislators and to president Trump (I tailored it for the president): I’m contacting you to once again ask you and your fellow representatives to please repeal the WEP/GPO, where public servants have been penalized since Ronald Reagan signed the WEP/GPO b/c he said we public servants double dip. Maybe public servants who have worked in Public Retirement Systems for 30 or 40 years can live comfortably w/o social security, but when you have worked & paid into social security for over 30 years and public service for 22, then it is unfair. My husband died on 8/3/17 & I will not receive any of his social security…nothing. I have to declare bankruptcy b/c I cannot make monthly bills but if I wasn’t punished by the WEP/GPO I could make all our payments. Again, punishing widows b/c they opted to work in public service for 22 years vs. 30 or 35 is a horrendous injustice. And lastly, why is it some states don’t penalize their citizens & allow them to collect full social security and a state pension but not Ohio. That is discrimination of the worst kind. Please so something to do move this repeal as I have been given lip service for well over 5 years and you can’t do anything but sign the bill and then allow it to die in committee.

    Holland, OH 43528

  11. Patricia Lopez says:

    Between my husband and I we paid into Social Security for over 75 years. When he passed away they not only penalized my Social Security they also cut his that I was to receive. THAT IS DOUBLE DIPPING !!!!. If you needed more money why did you not take it off the people from other countries working here, or those who collect that do not work. Why take it from the people that worked so hard to make this country great and were born here.

  12. Donna Smith says:

    FOLKS: If you ARE reading this, you MUST BOYCOTT AARP and let the President know about it!! I forgot her name, but she (yes,I believe it is still a woman) needs to know we are a centric organization and we will be “tree messaging” this boycott to everyone. I already wrote to let them know I will boycott their organization. Everyone must do their part. YOU and YOUR FRIENDS and relatives that care about you, must do the same. AARP has power and influence that they re not using.

  13. William Gravenkemper says:

    I’ll remember in November!

  14. Pamela Crabtree says:

    This e-mail from Sen. Sherrod Brown, Today 9/7/17 @ 14:05

    Dear Ms. Crabtree:

    Thank you for sharing your concerns about Social Security provisions that reduce pensions for public sector workers. I am proud to be leading legislative efforts to repeal these provisions.

    Under the windfall elimination provision (WEP), retirees receiving benefits from a public pension fund may be subject to a reduction in their Social Security benefits. The government pension offset (GPO) similarly reduces your Social Security payments to below 100% of earned benefits if you are a retired government worker and you qualify for a spousal benefit. The GPO reduces or eliminates a spousal benefit if the surviving spouse is eligible for a pension from a local, state, or federal government job that was not covered by Social Security.

    I believe these provisions are patently unfair to individuals who earn their Social Security benefits and receive a pension. Employees who work hard and follow the rules should not be penalized with lower benefits because of earned pension income.

    In April 2017, I introduced legislation to repeal both the WEP and the GPO, which combine to reduce Social Security benefits for 225,000 Ohioans, including teachers, firefighters, and police officers. My bill is bipartisan, and it’s commonsense. I will continue advocating for it with my colleagues in the Senate.

    As the Senate considers any bills affecting Social Security benefits, please know that I will keep your views in mind. Thank you again for contacting me.


    Sherrod Brown

    United States Senator

    1. Mary Lickey says:

      And how is this progressing through committees?? Seems like it gets sent to a committee, and then disappears.
      PLEASE do SOMETHING to get this thing moving and passed!!

  15. I worked 2 jobs for 35 years– one in education and the other I pain into Soc. Sec for 45 years– I receive only 40 % of my 45 years paying into soc. sec.

  16. Ann Steiner says:

    This also affects those who worked and lived in another country in addition to the U.S. I worked for 30 years in Canada and then 14 years in the U.S. My SS is reduced just because I get a Canadian government pension. This is not double dipping – it is 2 separate work assignments.

    The fact that this also affects teachers, fire fighters, widows etc. is even worse in my opinion.

    This really needs to be resolved.

  17. Homer Cook says:

    I paid both 30 years of Social Security and Civil Service retirement there is no rashanial to penalize certain employees and cut their earn retirement

  18. PAM BRAUER says:


    1. SS Fairness says:

      Thank you!

  19. Lets sue our Gov./ reps /S.S. contact the ACLU

Comments are closed.