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:
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:

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).


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!

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  1. I will turn 66 next month, and was entitled to an earned Social Security benefit of $915 a month. However, due to the fact that I am also a retired public school teacher, that benefit has been slashed to $365 a month. This is a complete and total rip-off, as I paid into Social Security for many years while working in the private sector during the summers I was teaching, and now have been in the private sector for 16 years paying into Social Security with a full time job. I just want what I am owed.

    1. My situation is almost exactly like yours Spence except I worked full time and earned my 40 quarters before I became a teacher. No one was obligated to inform me (now all new hires must be told). So, at a good long time before actually retiring from public teaching I began to make plans. When I was informed of these laws I was stunned. Had I know this, there would have been no way I complete all the difficult work to become a teacher at age 40.

      In addition to this being a complete and total rip-off these laws mean that we are not being treated equally to our peers in the states that do not (or have already corrected) these laws. Additionally, these laws greatly discriminate against seniors as well as women, (no offence here) due to the fact when the laws were implemented, many, many of the positions were filled by women as well as there being an abundant number of people to select from who had certifications. I began teaching when teachers were leaving the field and therefore there was a high demand. Education looked toward looked toward 2nd career individuals to fill the need.

      The WEP and the GPO are ill conceived laws that remain on the books in 17 states. Both should be eliminated and our full social security pensions needs to be restored, including the loss from past years, because we are not being treated equally to our peers in other states, the laws discriminate against seniors and women as well as other wrongs that need to be corrected immediately or we should demand a class action lawsuit.

  2. My husband paid into social security for almost 32 years and because I worked at a Junior College, in the Business Office, I cannot draw a penny of his social security after he died 5 years ago. My pension is a State Pension and I paid into it with the College matching, and social security is a Federal. Now if I had died first, my husband could have received a large portion of my pension and all of his social security. This is a double standard for though of us who are left behind in this situation. I wonder how our elected official would feel if their pensions could not be drawn by their spouse upon their death.

  3. I am a widow with all my husbands SS benefits gone due to the fact I was an educator for 32 yrs. one third of my SS was gone due to the offset. 0 left it’s not right I live at a very low income and hard to get buy!!!

  4. I worked 23 years in the school and public employees. I also worked 7 years prior under Social Security. I earned enough credits to qualify for Medicare. My earnings in the school and public employees work force were very minimal. I have been affected unfairly by this law. My biggest fear is I will lose my spouses Soc Security if he would pass away.Please consider repeal of this unfair law.

  5. why the democrat party does not concern about us the retires suffering from wep and gpo and attacking trump all the time i think they are a bunch of hipocrates equal to the republicans.

  6. This is true of my situation also. I don’t the intent was to pass these laws to affect the ”little guy”, but intended to the big money makers who were able to get a government pension and then go on to make big money as corporate executives who would also gain another BIG pension for themselves; however, whatever the reason the President signed these laws it was wrong and convoluted for the little people who worked and paid into both. Add insult to injury, I had never heard of this until the mid 2000’s, fifteen years after working for a municipality.

  7. I am an American citizen who now lives in the UK part of Ireland. The WEP has been applied to me since I retired in July last year. They have cut my benefit just about %50 . This theft is because i decided to expand my horizons and live and work outside the continental USA.
    This is nothing less than the theft of my earned SS benefit and should be ended immediately. In addition if I lived in Israel instead of Ireland , the WEP would not be applied. What is this discrimination about ?

  8. I worked out of the country, in Canada. For years I looked at my social security report both in the US and Canada and expected X number of dollars to help subsidize my retirement income, all was well. I took my social security at age 65 and about 2 weeks later I got the infamous letter in the mail from Social Security saying that I was going to lose about 45% of my US Social Security and 49% of my Canadian Social Security because I worked out of the Country. What! I said is this a crime? Wow what a harmful surprise! No heads up, no warning. I call Social Security office and that is when I found out about WEP. This is a complete government plan to rip people off of their Social Security money. The Gov. calls it double dipping, I call it double working. Social Security took my money all these years and I expect them to uphold to our agreement and pay me my full Social Security benefits just like everyone else.. I am 72 and still working, and so far if I calculate the Social Security rip off, they have short changed me by nearly $57,000.00 what a scam! REPEAL WEP NOW! I think the change should include a retroactive payment to all the US Citizens who have been harmed by this ancient and unfair bill. In the house now we have 218 CO SPONSORS for bill HR141 and we need you to help us get this to the house floor. Please get this unfair WEP bill implemented in 1977 and 1983 repealed , too long of a time harming HARD WORKING US CITIZENS! So please jump in there and get bill HR141 and S521 passed ASAP.


  9. I am a retired postal worker that retired after 35 years service.
    I have been working in the real estate business for 37 years and when I went to file for SS benefits I was told that I was getting about $500 less a month than what I thought that I was told by SS that I would receive. I learned about the Windfall Elimination Program.
    They told me that I missed the minimum income needed so I did not get credit for about 20 years. There were MANY years that I made well above the minimum. Wow, they don’t give me any credit for making over the minimum but penalized for making under the minimum.
    This is from the beginning, a VERY UNFAIR practice but now that it effects me I see that it is even more unfair. Please repeal this unfair practice of penalizing the worker for wanting extra income and also looking out for the future and trying to establish a SS pension. Silly me.

  10. My husband worked for 23 years for the State of California, paid into social security and was receiving $1800 a month in social security benefits when he retired. He passed away on October 13, 2019 so I applied for his surviving widow benefits which my husband told me I would receive.
    Social Security now informs me that even though I am requesting survivor benefits based on his work history and his entitled benefits, that they will penalize me based on my work history! I have already been penalized in that I only receive $241 a month social security. The Los Angeles Superior Court, where I was employed for 33 years, at some point in my career quit paying into Social Security. I am already punished for working for the Court who did not pay in. I understand that. But my husband did pay into social security and was receiving benefits from his work history and I am entitled to his benefits as they have nothing to do with my work history. NOT FAIR! MUST BE REPEALED! UNAMERICAN!

  11. If the original rationale for instituting the “Windfall” Eliminations Provision was to avoid higher wage earning workers being able to claim social security benefits (which award a higher monthly payment percentage-wise to lower income earners), why not have the WEP kick in and reduce payments to those workers if their non-covered pension is greater than, oh say, $3,000 per month. Instituting what I call a “Pension Threshold Trigger” would actually avoid real world “windfalls” of high non-covered wage earners gaining the advantage of the larger payments made to covered earners who had lower income for social security purposes.

    To simplify: If you earn more than, say, $3000 on your non-covered pension, you then have some of your social security payment reduced in order to avoid some version of a “windfall.”

  12. I want to thank you for your efforts to get these unfair and and damaging laws (WEP and GPO) repealed. I paid into social security for well over the required 40 quarters, both while I was working for the University and in non University jobs, and I paid into my University of Alaska pension with every paycheck. My own social security benefits were cut in half when I retired. Then when my husband passed away last year, I was denied his benefits. I was not informed about these laws and how negatively my retirement would be affected. I feel that WEP and GPO are unconstitutional and I do not understand why a class action suit has not been undertaken.

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