Alert #110 Talking Up Your Case—Repeal the GPO and the WEP!
Congress will not be in session until September 9th. Now is prime time for face-to-face meetings. Arrange to see your Representative or Senator in their office or at a town hall.
Here is a link to find contact information for your Member of Congress (Representative) or Senator: congress.gov
You can find out the status of the two repeal bills on this site, also. The House bill is H.R.141. The Senate bill is S.521.
Here is a link to a group that keeps track of town halls. You can check here to see if there are any in your area: https://townhallproject.com
How quickly and clearly can you get your point across?
Below are some ideas to help clarify your thinking about how to tell or improve your own story and explain this national problem. Plan how you will tell your own story, and write it down ahead of time for a better delivery:
I am asking you to co-sponsor (thanking you for co-sponsoring) H.R.141 (or S.521) to repeal the very unfair Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision.
I am affected by the (WEP,GPO, both).
The WEP STORY:
I worked_____years for_________and I earned a (partial) pension, but I also earned my 40 quarters working in _______ for ___ years.
I was never told that because of my public public pension, my Social Security would be less than I expected. The information we were sent every year from Social Security didn’t say that I was one of those who would be penalized. I only learned about it (when I retired, a couple of years before retiring, from a friend). In 2005 employers were finally told they had to tell employees about the offsets. That was way too late for me to plan.
I lose $________every month.
The formula they dreamed up in 1983 does not make any sense. Low-income workers often lose a higher percentage of their earnings than high earners.
The only way you can avoid this penalty is to earn 30 years of Social Security at a rate that most “women’s jobs” didn’t pay.
More than a million and a half (1,687,542) retirees are affected by the WEP, less than 3% of all beneficiaries. Repealing the WEP would cost less than 1% of benefits paid out in Social Security benefits each year.
We can afford repeal. Fairness says we MUST!
The Government Pension Offset Story:
I am affected by the Government Pension Offset. I lose ALL (most of) my Social Security benefits because I have (part of) a__________pension.
Social Security has a provision for homemakers: they get an amount equal to half the benefits their salary-earning spouse earns during the time they are married. The Government Pension Offset completely eliminates all Social Security benefits for me and that of nearly 500,000 mostly older women.
The GPO says that if you get a job where you earn a pension, and two thirds of that pension is more than half your spouse’s Social Security benefit, you lose ALL your spousal benefit. It doesn’t matter how many years you were actually financially dependent on your spouse. You lose your benefits, anyway.
Social Security isn’t supposed to be means-tested, but the GPO cuts your retirement benefits based on the amount of your pension. In addition, someone with a low or average pension can lose as much as 40% of their total retirement income.
Close to 700,000 people are affected by the Government Pension Offset, and 73% of them have lost all their benefits. Repealing the GPO would cost less than 1% of what is paid out in Social Security benefits each year. A small amount compared to the whole Social Security budget.
Repealing the Government Pension Offset will provide an incentive to attract high quality teachers and other government workers!