The Ever Present Misconceptions about WEP/GPO
1. You have a pension, so you don’t need Social Security:
–The pension comes from money you were required to contribute out of your salary. Like Social Security, it was not intended to cover all of your needs in retirement. Even a partial pension can cause cuts to Social Security. Pensions are paid for and taxed differently in different states. They don’t correlate with Social Security at all and should not be used to diminish Social Security earnings.
2. You chose to earn the pension, so don’t complain about Social Security.
–Many public service positions were not allowed to participate in Social Security in the beginning. In the 1950’s when governmental entities were offered the opportunity to join, many public employees were already paying into a pension and often couldn’t afford to pay into another retirement system. Public agencies made the decision not to add another retirement plan.
3. The Offsets do not eliminate all of your Social Security.
–The Government Pension Offset currently eliminates ALL fully earned spousal or survivor benefits for more than half a million retirees, most of them elderly women. The WEP can eliminate nearly $500 a month from those affected.
4. The offsets only affect high earners.
–Actually, the way both the WEP and GPO work, they take a larger percentage of retirement income from those with smaller pensions.