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U.S. Senators Introduce Social Security Fairness Act to Repeal GPO-WEP

CEA-Retired member Jon-Paul Roden serves on the NEA-Retired Executive Council and travels to Washington, D.C., regularly. During his visits he meets with members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation and their staff to advocate about issues that impact both retirees and public education, including GPO-WEP.

Hundreds of thousands of educators, police officers, fire fighters, and other public service employees lose the Social Security benefits they’ve earned or have them significantly reduced due to two federal offsets known as the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). This loss of benefits is a real blow to many public service employees, and NEA has long advocated repealing GPO-WEP.

Recognizing and respecting the contributions of educators and other public employees, a group of Senators last week came forward to cosponsor legislation that would eliminate the unfair penalties attached to public service. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME), along with original cosponsors Sens. Blumenthal (D-CT), Baldwin (D-WI), Franken (D-MN), Heller (R-NV), Hirono (D-HI), Murkowski (R-AK), Reed (D-RI), Udall (D-NM), Vitter (R-LA), Warren (D-MA) and Whitehouse (D-RI), introduced the Social Security Fairness Act of 2015 (S. 1651), previously introduced in the House (H.R. 973) by Representatives Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Adam Schiff (D-CA).

This legislation would repeal GPO-WEP—provisions that penalize people who have dedicated their lives to public education and other public service careers by taking away benefits they have earned. The House version of the bill currently has 107 cosponsors, a larger number than has ever signed on before to support this critical legislation.

Most of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation has already signed on as cosponsors of this legislation, however Senator Chris Murphy and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro’s names are missing from the list. Please email them and ask them to support the Social Security Fairness Act of 2015.

Read more about GPO-WEP and how it affects educators from EdVotes.org.

4 Comments
  1. Reblogged this on alldaykindergarten and commented:
    This would be wonderful for all public employees who had jobs before or after teaching!

    July 2, 2015
  2. Rosanne Neri #

    If only this happened. I lose almost $500 after working as an educator for 31 years and at a part time job to put my sons through college and help me support myself as a divorced Mom. I lose 60 percent of my EARNED Social Security. I’m still working a part-time job after retiring and STILL PAY INTO SOCIAL SECURITY! Please let them pass this act and help all the other professions that are cheated out of their full Social Security in the 10 states that have this unjust law.

    July 2, 2015
  3. Pam Brauer #

    As you know, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has introduced a new bill, S.1651, that would repeal both the GPO and the WEP. This bill will be a companion to Rodney Davis’ House bill, HR 973. Please join the 11 Senators who have signed on as original sponsors. My future retirement depends on these 2 repeals!

    I grew up in poverty in Kansas. I worked very low paying jobs starting at Dairy Queen when I was 16 until 1988 when I started teaching. I paid my own way through college. I got a Masters Degree as a Reading Specialist. I paid off all student loans. I have never collected unemployment. I will start my 24th year as a Title 1 Reading teacher in a Missouri elementary school. Every day, I witness 450 students getting FREE bus service, FREE breakfast, FREE books/supplies, FREE lunch, FREE tutoring and FREE parental involvement activities. I paid for EVERYTHING that my 2 daughters needed for school, including their college educations at KState and KU. I was my mother-in-law’s caregiver. I took care of my sick husband for 4 years. He just passed away. When I went to Social Security, I was terribly distressed! I have paid NEA dues for 24 years. I am a member of PSRS and eligible to retire today using the Rule of 80 formula. NEA, PSRS, my school district and Social Security statement never informed or prepared me and my husband for WEP and GPO! I can’t retire today!!! As I looked at my husband’s Social Security statement online, I assumed that as his widow, I would start receiving half of his $2,000 spousal benefit. The first time I went to SS, a representative gave me wrong information. I made an appointment and talked for an hour with another SS representative who gave me 3 different scenarios concerning benefits. Totally confusing! As it stands, I will not be entitled to my personal benefit of $550 per month at age 62 because of WEP. I will only get $250. Who gets my other $300? As it stands, I will not be entitled to the $1,000 per month spousal benefit at age 62 because GPO thinks my PSRS pension will be more than adequate. Who gets my husband’s $86,000 from his career ….he left it for his family? Who gets to keep my spousal benefit? I need to pay bills! Oh, my SS statement states that I don’t have enough credits for disability. That’s because of my low paying wages as a young adult. As a senior citizen, my PSRS pension will not be adequate! I’ve never imagined that someone would accuse me of “double-dipping”. I’m almost 59. I have bad knees. I want to retire now. I’m a widow who wants to leave behind a small inheritance for my 2 daughters. But my pension would be $3,700 a month…I have to take 15% tax out, that’s $3,700 – $555…then I have to have insurance at $780 for me and my daughter…that leaves $2,365 per month…but my monthly budget for living in my nice family home is $3,000. I want to spend money and spur on the American economy. I don’t want to leave the Middle Class and live in poverty again. I want to retire in comfort and be able to afford assisted-care if needed. I want to save money, not count my pennies! I don’t want to downsize and live on a fixed-income. I have worked too hard being a productive citizen, raising a family and teaching kids how to read. It is totally Un-American to be subjected to WEP and GPO!!!
    PLEASE…REPEAL…WEP and GPO! God bless America! Sincerely, Pam Brauer

    July 3, 2015
  4. Please Repeal GPO/WEP. This needs to be taken care of immediately! People who worked for the Government and many other jobs serving the public deserve the respect and recognition for their dedicated years of service. We are counting on your support to get this done. Do the right thing and we will all sleep a lot better at night not having to worry about how we are going to keep a roof over our head, pay utilities, buy food and pay for our medications in our senior years. The time to act is NOW! Urgent attention and swift action are the key. Senators, Congress and most importantly, President Obama, “Our futures are in your hands”.

    July 8, 2015

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