Action Alert #97 – A Glimmer of Hope from the Right

On October 3, first term Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy spoke on the floor of the Senate about why they need to get rid of the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision. Here are the links to his web page and the You-Tube video of his presentation:

Web page: Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Calls On Congress To Uphold Social Security Promise For All

Floor speech:

Repealing the GPO and WEP is not a partisan issue. The current co-sponsors of the Senate Social Security Fairness Act, in addition to Sherrod Brown, who introduced it, are four Democrats, four Republicans and one Independent.   (Collins, Murkowski, Heller, Kennedy –Republicans; Baldwin, McCaskill, Menendez, Murphy—Democrats; and Angus—Independent).   Check out progress on co-sponsors for both the House and Senate from the links on our home page,

                              We need your Senator to sign on to this bill: 

                            S.915  The Social Security Fairness Act of 2017

It doesn’t matter who is representing you in this situation. The case for supporting the nation’s retired workers from a populist point of view can be made to anyone on either side of the aisle.

At a time when Congress is cutting back funding for the Social Security Administration the offsets make up a logistical nightmare for the agency. When workers move to a non-affected state before they begin to collect Social Security, staff in that new state may not understand how the offsets are supposed to work, thus a large, but unknown, number of retired eligible public employees have not been affected by the penalties.

Another little-known aspect of the penalties is that, if you are one of the few people receiving some of your spousal benefits, when you get a cost-of-living raise in your pension, you are supposed to report that to the SSA, so they can reduce your spousal benefit. The state teacher pension gives you a $9 raise for the year. You tell Social Security, and they subtract $6 from your Social Security spousal benefit. How cruel!  And who knew?

The GPO and WEP hurt middle class retirees when they have already lost their main source of income and they are a nightmare for the SSA to administer according to the law.  




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  1. These two unfair laws have directly impacted to many middle class and working poor. Please repeal these terrible laws!

  2. Both of my Senators from Maine have signed on. It would be a very good thing if this was repealed as most of us are getting really tired of working full time.

  3. A glimmer of hope! Dare we allow ourselves to believe that justice and fairness might actually have a chance after all this time? The WEP and the GPO are two of the most unfair, and poorly conceived, government “takebacks” of all time…

    1. Yes
      I hope this time the repeal effort actually happens
      I worked for the VA serving our nations veterans for 34 years plus I’ve worked in the private sector as well entitling me to social security only to discover near half of it will be confiscated back to the government. Senator Kennedy is right it’s unfair and unjust

    2. You are SO right Ron, They put things into ‘law’ that are not just, are not fair, and we as u.s. citizens have the right to contest them, to disagree, but also to work to repeal them. The Senior Citizens League finally has decided to support the repeal, but we need to keep on them. Their address and phone no. is as follows:TREA Senior Citizens League
      1001 N. Fairfax Street
      Suite 101
      Alexandria, VA 22314

      We need our cause to go before C-Span, to form committees who really are effective, one of our real conservative Republicans to take this cause on, we need much more than has been happening to get this WEP repealed. We need a jouronalist such as Sean Hannity, who is always for the middle class. This is a ‘middle class issue’ actually, because it is definitely affecting the American worker, and who are these people — MOSTLY MIDDLE CLASS. WE NEED A MIDDLE CLASS CHAMPION ON TV TO BRING THIS TO THE PUBLIC AND THEN FINALLY WE WILL HAVE REPEAL, This writing to our Congressman produces nothing, absolutely nothing. We need exposure more than anything else.

    3. I am in full agreement. I paid into S.S. for 38 years, since I was 16 years of age. Many of those years were from waitressing. This means I did not pay a large amount into S.S. When the bill was voted on in the 1960’s, it said “if you paid into S.S. for 30 years you would begin to receive your money from S.S. upon retirement. Now S.S. states that it had to be a “substantial amount” each year!!! Because I chose to be a part-time worker and stay at home to raise my children during the day, and my husband was with them in the evening, I am now getting penalized!!! I then earned my Bachelor’s degree, in education and at 51 started working as a teacher in one of Maine’s Prisons. I am now one month away from turning 66 and I am told that I will only receive $100.00 or less from my S.S. because I have been paying into a State Pension since I was 51!!! Wait a minute, the S.S. contributions I made since I was 16 is “MY MONEY!!!!” PLUS, I pay most of my retirement contributions working for the State of Maine!! Where is the fairness!! The Congress has skirted around this horrible action against “public service workers” for too many years. Now is the time for action!!

  4. After retiring from teaching in Missouri, I find that I have had to continue to work. My social security is so small that I am not able to continue my lifestyle without a part-time job. This is not fair. I worked for over 20 years paying into SS and need what is rightfully mine. Please continue to work towards a full repeal for us.

  5. Dear Senator Blumenthal, Senator Murphy and Congressman Larson,

    I’m writing to urge Senator Blumenthal to cosponsor S 915 and pass this legislation and to urge Congressman Larson to vote yes and pass this legislation when it comes to the floor of the House.

    As a retired speech language pathologist in CT – I only worked 20 years in public school and the rest of my 23 year career was in the hospital setting, where I paid into Social Security.

    The current law reduced my social security significantly and is extremely unfair.

    When I combine my reduced Social Security and my 20 year 40% teaching pension – my retirement benefits is far less than what a teacher with 35 years receives from a pension.

    I realize that working only part of my career in the public schools would give me a reduced retirement but my social Security should not be compromised for the 23 years that Inpaid into the system in good faith.

    Thank you for fixing this and making my social security benefit retroactive so the correction can be made. This would help me meet my Medical and other expenses.

    Will you please join Senator Murphy?

    Thank you to Senator Murphy for cosponsoring this bill and to Senator Brown for introducing S 915.

    Thank you for all your hard work,
    Paula Bacolini

  6. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Senator Kennedy! I am terrified about my future because of the unjust WEP/GPO. I hope and pray that you are successful.

    1. Do you really want to know how bad the WEP is. I retired on SS in 1995. I should have received $340 a month. I have an adopted son who turned 21 when I applied in 95. He is brain damaged since birth. We put him on SS then to. He was to receive $2 more than half my SS or $172 a month. I had paid into SS for 23 years.Then worked for 37 years as a Fed 9 military 28 years USPS . They then WEPed me cutting my $340 to $172 deduct Medicare I received $145 a month. They also Weped my son cutting him to $56 a month. My wife had worked 11 years then became a SAHM she received $199 for her 11 years I received $145 for paying SS for 23 years. I am now on SS for 22 years and receive $169 a month. Ask me why are your credit cards so high Herb. So far the WEP has stolen over $100,000 from the both of us and steals another $5,300 or so more each year. I also have 14 disabilities and believe the WEP is an illegal law because it violates the ADA (American Disability Act. That’s my next letter to my Congress persons.

  7. The WEP and GPO was so unexpected when I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security. I just do not understand how repealing this has taken decades. This unfair, we are not double dippers. I worked private and paid into Social Security and then hopped over and worked for my State Government for less than a decade and I am being docked about 40% of what my employer and I paid in. Pleases stop holding on to this until we die, this needs to be repealed this year.

    1. Yes, I am in the same predicament. Married over 30 yrs, raised a family and can not get compensated with Ex-spouse’s Soc.Sec. Started teaching after divorce. I am 71 now and still have to work because the pension of $1100 a month isnt enough for me to live on. I live in Sec 8 housing to afford rent and go to food banks and shop at thrift stores to get by.

  8. I have been retired since 1995, however I don’t have enough quarters paid in to social security to receive a social security benefit check. My husband started receiving his social security check in January, 2017, but because of the GOP/WEP offset I can’t receive any benefits from his social security. This is unfair to me as well as others in the same boat.

    Senior retires are living longer and our retirement checks have increased in sometime now. Cost of Living adjustments haven’t been made on a yearly basic, and our moneys don’t go as far.

    I may not be in as bad a fix financial as others but it will come. So I beg of you that are in the position to resolve this issue, do in for the mercy of those of us in need.
    Thank you.

  9. Thank you so much for supporting to repeal WEP and GPO. This unfair and discrimination law toward teachers who worked two jobs to keep food on the table for their families needs to be repealed now. I need this repealed now because at my age, I have to choose between medicine or food. FIX THIS NOW.

  10. Thank you Senator Kennedy for your support. I work for NPC in Jeffersonville Indiana. My husband passed away two and a half years ago and I do not get his Social Security that he work for to me that is discrimination that working people work hard to try and have something and then been taken away from them. My Social Security was supposed to be four hundred and some dollars and I’m only getting 197 then after Medicare taken out only get $57 a month when I could be getting my husband’s money that he paid into something needs to be done. I worked 34 years for the government it’s a shame that people that don’t work gets more than the people working .

  11. If we really are the” greatest country ” in the world as our leaders keep repeating, how come we cheat our own hard working people ? How come the WEP and GOP were passed in such a sly way; how come the Social Security Fairness Act has not been passed to this day ? What does Justice for all mean ?
    It is time to amend such defects in the American political system, for the sake of the present, (if not our past), and for the sake of our honor as a caring country to our future and its people. May the tears I shed for all the shameful harm done to so many, turn into seeds of hope to call the USA a genuinely truly great country !

  12. Thank you for keeping this alive. I am 65 but cannot afford to retire because of what I WON’T get of MY social security.

  13. Thank you Senator Kennedy for your efforts to repeal these awful laws.
    I worry daily for I am impoverished because I can not receive full SS benefits that I paid into for 23 years prior to becoming a teacher.

  14. I am just asking that I receive the amount that I paid into Social Security. Some women and more that one can collect on their ex’s SS even though they have not put a penny into the system and yet I am penalized because all my quarters where not in by 1983. I only had 7 seven years in at the time. I now have almost 18 years. Something was so wrong with this bill.

  15. It also discriminates against mothers, when a teacher can’t be in the classroom after the 5th month of pregnancy, thereby making her unable to get the necessary months of eligibility to qualify, as was the case in the 1950s.
    I’m in my late 80s. Is the government just waiting for us to die, thereby eliminating our annoying voices?

  16. Senator Kennedy could not have said it better. He speaks for me. I will lose $500/mo because of the WEP and I can’t afford to do that. That money is being illegally stolen from me (and millions of others).
    Thank god the SS Fairness Act of 2017 has come about after all this time.
    Please repeal the WEP.

  17. Thank you, Seantor Kennedy, I’m tired of watching congress fiddle Twitter and resolve but not one thing do they solve! Now we need a mark up on S 915! Time to stand and deliver!

  18. I am a retired teacher. A travesty should be corrected by total repeal of the WEP!!!! Public servants had funds that they earned taken from them and never returned. The dedicated and often low paid police officers, teachers, fireman etc. are not allowed to have their spouses Social Security benefits upon a death of that loved one. The formula that reduces these public servants’ Social Security benefits to little or nothing amounts to theft by our government. Even though many of us earned many quarters outside of our public servant positions we had our benefits taken, i. e. stolen from us!! If our new President and regime wants to correct a very unfair situation, the two laws that were enacted because public servants were so called “double dipping”, should be repealed immediately and the considerable amount of money taken should be returned to its rightful owners. These owners would be the thousands of teachers in the United States who educated those who took these funds away!! The police officers who protect all United States citizens including the ones who passed this law. The firemen who save those in need from the fiery infernos. After contacting a number of public officials, I was told that 2 of them agreed that the WEP should be repealed, it was unfairly enacted, but that it would cost our government too much to return those millions of dollars to those who worked under less than optimum pay and safety conditions, the ones who definitely EARNED those thousands of dollars.
    We are all waiting for our time to be treated fairly!!!! We are the ones who worked long hours and made substandard salaries, and some of us put our lives in danger every day for the citizens of our great country. Don’t we deserve at least what we EARNED???? Mr. President Trump and our esteemed public officials, I ask you this question!!!

    This is Theft by Three Times!!!!
    Teachers,Police,Firefighters ,Postal Workers,Public Employees,Retirees And Public Servants!
    Congress Repeal the WEP/GPO Act Of 1983!
    Write your Congressman to have this REPEALED!
    Quit Stealing Seniors Benefits To Give To Wealthy Tax Cuts!
    Fix the GPO/WEP ACT is Illegal ….”FAILURE TO DISCLOSEURE LAW” is Stealing Our SS Benefits Make It right Washington.
    Public Servants beware of this penalty!
    This is what suddenly happened without any warning or notice to 6.5 million (and still counting) Americans on a sunny day in April, 1983. Some were given warnings and quit. The vast majority’s new Social Security Plan became their current Government Retirement Plan. If they quit then after the passing, they would still be penalized by the Windfall or Offset penalty written into the law. A total failure of due process and the rights of working Americans!
    #REPEAL The WEP/GPO ACT Of 1983!
    Public Servants beware of this Law! As always, check to see if your
    Representative in Congress has signed on to H.R. 1205 and S.915 the WEP/GPO Repeal Bills!

  20. Thank you Senator Kennedy. I hope you will be relentless in your efforts to repeal these very unjust pieces of legislation. It would result in a very minor increase in the overall Social Security budget, but a well deserved and extremely helpful increase in benefits for those of us being unfairly penalized.

  21. Thank You Senator Kennedy. Please continue to push for this repeal. I hope that Senator Bill Cassidy and Congressman Garrett Graves are also supporting this effort. Please, Please, Please don’t let this opportunity slip away. It will make such a huge difference in the lives of retired teachers, fire fighters, and other public servants.

  22. I retired from law enforcement with 32 years last year before that I worked enough to complete my 40 quarters I got a letter about a year before I retired stating I would receive 735.00 a month but when I took the letter last November to the ss office they penalized me from 735.00 to 411.00 I don’t understand because that was my money,I’m like any other citizen I want what’s rightfully mine no more thank you

  23. PLEASE repeal these very unjust pieces of legislation. It would result in a very minor increase in the overall Social Security budget, but a well deserved and extremely helpful increase in benefits for those of us being unfairly penalized.

  24. Yes the senator gave a wonderful speech but who was there to listen to him, I saw no one in the auditorium. Yes I’m affected by the WEP by 428 a month. Like most of us I only want what I paid in and deserve. 25 years of federal service and another 22 under SS and I still have to work part time to make things work! Will the day ever come when I can really retire? I’ve lost all hope for that. Maybe we need to have a million man March on Washington, then they might listen.

  25. As a high school teacher, I choose to make contributions to Social Security all my life. 100% of my contributions AND any Soc Sec retirement payments were taken away from me. This, even though over 40% of my teachers retirement was lost due to a divorce. When I remarried, I was a caregiver to my wife who was 100% disabled for 11 years before her death. I was denied ANY of her surviving spouse Soc Sec benefits as well. I am living in retirement just above poverty level, but had to leave my home State, California, to seek a State I could afford to live in. I can only hope my government rights this devastating wrong.

  26. Thank you Senator Kennedy for comprehending the negative impact and voicing your displeasure reference this law. I wish your fellow Senators in Michigan understood how they are hurting the very citizens that were ready to protect them at a moments notice.

  27. In all fairness, we, who have been AFFECTED by the WINDFALL ELIMINATION PROVISION and the GOVERNMENT PENSION OFFSET should have RETROACTIVE COMPENSATION along with the REPEAL OF WEP & GPO. I have waited 30 years for this repeal … I hope not to wait 30 more years when I may no longer be alive. The financial struggle has been very challenging and my credit score has been dipping. I have kept Medicare and my Long Term Care insurance policies, but I may have to drop those, too. I have tried to keep off of the SOCIAL SERVICES, but may be FORCED to sign up … such as the SNAP programs, etc.

  28. WEP/GPO will never be repealed until all of us accept the fact that complaining to each other, letters, phone calls and e-mails don’t work. We must make a noise that can’t be ignored.

  29. Senator Kennedy – I just listened to your 10-3-17 floor speech. Thank you so much for being the voice for all of us who are affected by the WEP/GPO. My husband and are both retired public school educators. My husband just applied for Social Security benefits and his check will be negligible after Medicare is deducted from his social security check. We also live in California and are looking to leave to a more tax-friendly state where at least our small benefit checks won’t be taxed. Thank you again!!

  30. Please repeal this WEP for the sake of fairness to hard working citizens! I still CANNOT understand how we worked and paid into a system only to be told we cannot have proceeds from our years of paying in! That was money WE earned, not the government. That is the biggest rip-off I’ve heard of in years. I am asking that our representatives please plead our case! Thank you for the efforts to those who have tried to help.

  31. These laws are sooooo unfair and need to be repealed NOW.

    I’ believe the only reason it hasn’t passed, is due to the small percent of voters it impacts. It also draws attention to how congress and the senate in the past has gourd the working public.

  32. I served in the Navy for four years, in the Army Reserve 8-10 years and as a police officer for 25+ years. All during that time I worked extra jobs paying SS to be able to support my family. Then I worked in the private sector another 12 years paying in SS. Looking forward to being able to finally retire, when I applied for benefits, I find I am pentalized for receiving a pension based on 1999 wages and no COLA increases for protecting our nation and city. WEP needs to be repealed and that which is rightfully ours be returned to us.

  33. I worked for 8 years as a teacher in a state where we paid nothing into Social Security, and 22 years in the public sector. Now that I am getting ready to retire I am shocked at the large cut in my Social Security for only 8 years of service. I am being penalized twice – once when the $0 Social Security years are averaged into my benefit, and again when the WEP takes even more of it away upon payout.. I will most likely have to work well into my 70s. Please fix these terrible and unfair laws.

  34. Repealing the WEP would nearly double my SS; it would help tremendously! Does anyone know the status of the legislation, or the likelihood of passing?

    1. We are in a situation where they are talking about making further cuts to Social Security next year. We continue to protest!

    2. HB 1205 to repeal WEP/GPO is hidden/buried in the House Ways and Means Committee. S 915 is hidden/buried in the Senate Committee. The professional politicians don’t want the majority of the US citizens to know they are committing a crime. We all must get the word out so the current politicians will be replaced by people who care.

  35. I too am in for position because of WEP. I will be losing about 1/6 of my entire retirement because of WEP. I worked for nearly 20 years in private enterprise and I’m going to be losing about half of that social security that I paid and then I thought I would be able to use when I retired. That’s a large chunk of money for anyone especially when they cannot work any longer because now I’m disabled.

  36. I agree with William: “We need to make a noise that cannot be ignored.” The American people have been patient for many years and confident that our elected officials in Washington would repeal the Social Security Fairness Act and the Windfall Elimination Provision. However, they have failed to do so. I firmly believe that this time the American people are not going to take this rejection; we will react with retribution!

    It is time for the working citizens of the United States of America to be recognized. We need to present ourselves in Washington, D.C., as a group, and honor those Americans who were denied their S.S., and are now gone; for those of us who are still working, and for the future generations who will not go into public service due to the unfair treatment they would receive by our very own government.

    We will be heard and recognized.

    At the age of 76 with medical issues, I have to continue to work because the WEP and GPO affects my ability to receive my benefits. I have worked 25 years in social security and my deceased husband worked 60 years. because I receive retirement from DC Government, I am not eligible to receive widows benefits. I merely expect to receive the benefits I paid into.

  38. Why is it we can afford to subsidize illegals and DACA people but treat hard working Americans so shamefully? My husband’s SS was cut 2/3 because he worked maintenance for the school district, never did they disclose this, he would have been better off working construction. if he applies for 1/2 of my social security, they will cut that too. So unfair. It’s hard to be proud of a country that only helps those who don’t help themselves.

  39. I retired from municipal government after 33 years of paying into Ohio PERS. I served in the US Navy for 23 years and paid into social security, and now that I am retired, I work part time and continue to pay into social security. My wife is a retired school teacher, and she has paid and continues to pay into social security during her part time job, and summers between school years. We are being penalized by the WEP and GPO! All we would like is a fair return on the contributions we made into social security, and are appalled that some receive social security benefits without ever paying into it. Social security is a benefit that we earned, not an entitlement that is being given to us. I have contacted Sen Portman, Sen Brown , and Rep Kaptor requesting their support on repealing these unfair laws.

  40. I retired from a government agency and was literally shattered upon learning that the WEP would slice my already small social security benefits in less than half.
    I had no knowledge in my early 20’s that working in the private sector before obtaining my public sector job would cause a cut in my social security.
    Please, I beg of you, to repeal the WEP so that I can afford medical insurance!

  41. I have asked NARFE who is heading up the team to actively protest the WEP (the taking of our earned SS under the pretense of a windfall) and promote realistic COLA calculation (SSA Fairness). Apparently there is no one heading up that team of people like us across the US. I have time and effort to put behind whomever leads the team. Tired of complaints, give us a leader to support Sen Kennedy with an “active” team going to DC, wherever. Im ready to give it time and effort. Call on me.

  42. I am 70 years of age but cannot retire because of the unfairness of WEP. I worked and paid into SS for more than 25 years but have 20 credible years because I worked in a service business with lower wages and stayed home to take care of my children when they were infants. In my 40’s I went back to school and earned a Bachelor’s degree and RN license. I worked about 5 years under SS as a nurse and have worked almost 17 years in public health, paying into the Ohio state public employees retirement system. Because of WEP I cannot afford to retire. I will have to work three more years to make up the difference of what WEP would take away. I don’t understand why those of us who straddle both systems are being penalized for working in public service and why our legislators haven’t fixed the wrong that has been done.

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