Current situation: Our House repeal bill, H.R. 82, has 284 co-signers. We are almost at our goal of 290! The Senate bill, S.597, has only 44 of the 60 co-signers needed. The Senate is our biggest challenge!
Check our website, ssfairness.org, for easy links to petitions, progress, and information on this year’s campaigns.
Thank your Congress Members if they have signed on and keep after those who haven’t. Even if they have already signed on, send them this explanation. Many of our supporters don’t really understand how cruelly the WEP and GPO work to undermine this country’s retired public servants.
The Senate is obviously a bigger challenge. Keep repeating: We paid into FICA just like everyone else. We earned these benefits! And tell them your personal story in a couple of sentences. Repeat!
The GPO hurts a public employee as well as their Social Security earning spouse who paid for spousal and survivor benefits through their contributions :
Most retirees (70%) who are affected by the GPO lose ALL the benefits that were fully paid for by their spouse. Social Security benefits are usually calculated based on both years of work and the contribution amount, but the GPO ignores any years of true dependency, and counts only the amount of their public pension. This means that stay-at-home moms who go into the workforce later in life and only earn half a pension can lose all the Social Security dependent benefits their spouse paid for during their marriage. 83% of those affected by the GPO are women.
More than 700,000 retirees and also their Social Security-earning spouses who paid for their benefits are punished by the GPO. Loss of the GPO survivor penalties can cost a retired teacher or police officer more than $20,000 every year.
The Windfall Elimination Provision punishes people who have had a non-FICA earning government job as well as a job where they paid into FICA:
The current WEP rule can cut retirees’ earned Social Security benefits by more than $6,000 every year. This provision punishes public employees who, in other work, have had at least ten years of Social Security contributions and have earned Social Security benefits like everyone else. The one way of completely avoiding this penalty, is to have made “substantial” Social Security earnings each year for thirty years in addition to earning their public service pension. This year the qualifying amount for yearly “substantial earnings” is $29,700. It’s often difficult for most people to earn that much every year in summer employment or working as an occasional security guard. The WEP currently punishes nearly 2 million qualified public service retirees, including, inexplicably, government workers who have earned any amount of a pension from work in another country.
The WEP and GPO are poorly-written and non-productive relics of federal law that hamper our schools and government agencies from hiring and retaining the skilled workforce this country needs. They deprive public servants of fully-earned and paid for benefits. They must be repealed now!