GPO/WEP & WORKFORCE More than 1/3 all educators at risk More than 1/5 all public employees at risk
What is Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)? Since 1983 The WEP affects one’s own earned Social Security benefits. Without 30 years of “substantial income” in Social Security covered work, a complex formula will significantly reduce benefits, by no more than half of one’s earned government pension. Paid same Social Security taxes, BUT are held to a different standard when S.S. benefits computed.
WEP affects those who: Work(ed) for state/local govt in Non-SS covered job, & are.. Entitled to a government pension from this job. And also are entitled to a Social Security retirement or a disability benefit from your SS covered work. Paid same taxes, but are held to a different standard than others = LESS
W hat is the GPO? Since 1977 Government Pension Offset (GPO) affects Social Security spousal and survivor benefits, reducing it by 2/3 of the pension not covered. Often, creating TOTAL LOSS of Social Security benefits. Normally, the widow/er gets 100% of earner’s SS. Dependent spouse gets 50% Different standard, not consistent
RECEIVE LESS MONEY than others who paid the SAME AMOUNT in Social Security taxes. Who does the GPO affect? The GPO affects persons who: work(ed) for a state or local government in non-Social Security covered employment and are also entitled to dependent spouse or survivor’s benefits.
OCCUPATIONS penalized Teachers, police, firefighters, postal workers, air traffic controllers, customs agents, many federal government employees, & many state & local workers are penalized: GPO & WEP have been called the “Heroes’ Penalties”
Where do federal workers live? All over the U.S. and overseas as well. Air Traffic Controllers
State, county, municipal employees 26 STATES (in blue) 26 States Largest populations: CA, CO, IL, LA, OH, TX
TEACHERS in Alaska & 14 other states Red = States affected
NOT DOUBLE DIPPING We EARNED benefits from BOTH. Worked 2 jobs paying into 2 different & independent systems, each for required time. Should earn 2 partial retirement incomes INDEPENDENT OF EACH OTHER
Recruitment STIFLED Social Security benefits should be EQUITABLE FOR ALL “Current law not only makes it more difficult to recruit teachers, police officers and fire fighters, but it penalizes the invaluable public servants who have already given so much.” Diane Feinstein
Can you & your family AFFORD to lose this? $350.00/month which equals…. $4,200/year which equals…. $63,000 TOTAL LOST in 15 years OUCH GPO LOSSES ARE OFTEN SUBSTANTIALLY MORE ! WEP AND YOU OUCH!
SEVERE FINANCIAL HARDSHIP The groups MOST AFFECTED BY SEVERE financial hardship are: widows & divorced women, especially the aged. Many live below federal poverty level. Most widows/widowers get NO spousal benefits
Double Dipping? NO! Stories of REAL PEOPLE & GPO/WEP losses=TRUTH In the stories that follow you will see how UNFAIR the GPO/WEP are! While OTHERS who paid SS taxes in for only 10 years are NOT PENALIZED AT ALL. In the following stories, the people or their spouse PAID in the FULL Social Security CONTRIBUTION (for 10 years) and often many more, but are DENIED the full benefit, due to GPO/WEP.
CHEATED in Massachusetts 13 years in the military, served in war where I earned: 3 Bronze Stars for valor Purple Heart 22 years in teaching. I am shocked to learn I will receive virtually nothing from Social Security. VICTIM OF WEP
Penalized in Texas I worked both as a teacher & a Registered Nurse & have paid FULLY into both Social Security & my teacher’s pension fund for retirement. Must I retire in poverty because I worked hard in both areas but will only be fairly compensated for one? VICTIM OF WEP
Food Stamps for teacher i n Texas? Husband in nursing home with huge copayments. Annuity not adequate. FULL social security benefits would alleviate SERIOUS NEED. ALL BECAUSE I TAUGHT IN 2 DIFFERENT STATES VICTIM OF WEP
Facing POVERTY in Ohio Does ANYONE CARE? Worked 15 SS years & 20 teaching years A. Retire at $16,000/year. CHOICE B. Work until 73 for FULL teacher’s pension. VICTIM OF WEP, WORRIED ABOUT GPO
DISMAL retirement in Illinois My late husband & I worked a total of 78 professional years. My annual retirement of $22, 392 is hardly regal after 37 years teaching. Yet, this prevents me from receiving survivor benefits from Social Security. VICTIM OF GPO
CONFUSED WIDOW in California While I continue to teach, I will receive survivor benefits of $25,000/year. When I retire, I WILL NOT receive a dime of survivor benefits. THIS MAKES NO SENSE VICTIM OF GPO
Paid $70,000 in SS taxes I will NOT EVEN receive a bit of INTEREST from this “investment” in my future. Government invests my money
Social Security is inequitable We seek a FAIR SYSTEM with an EQUAL standard of distribution for earned Social Security credits for ALL. EquityInequity
Our Goal REPEAL THE GPO & WEP 325 cosponsors in House 31 cosponsors in Senate 111th Congress Pass H.R. 235 Pass S. 484
COST OF JUSTICE T he cost to REPEAL the GPO & WEP is 2% of the overall Social Security costs paid to recipients each year. Only 2% Money long overdue Years beyond due date According to the Estimated Trust Fund information at http://www.ssa.gov/
Why care… FINANCIAL PLANNING if retirement not in near future? IS PART OF LIFE Law to inform employees of GPO/WEP ONLY applies to those hired on or after Jan. 1, 2005.
DIVORCE is not uncommon in today’s society. CRITICAL to proper division of assets. Knowledge of GPO/WEP
SINGLE LIFESTYLE Today 1 in 4 households Can she MAKE ENDS MEET?
Life is full of SURPRISES At some point, many will LOSE THEIR SPOUSE. For women, the chances are high. When this occurs they will lose much or all of their survivor benefits. Is a precarious lifestyle what we want for our family members?
THIRTY YEARS of GPO/WEP We need ACTION or … GPO/WEP will continue another 30 years
We APPEAL to you, brothers & sisters EVERY STATE, not only those with penalties. “One nation, with liberty & justice for ALL”
Why should other states care? Today’s society is mobile. MANY move from state to state & job to job GPO/WEP affects people in every state.
What is ssfairness.com? Begun in 2009 in San Francisco Bay Area & spreading throughout the U.S. to all affected professions. An all-volunteer group of active & retired public service employees, working to REPEAL GPO/WEP. Sign up on SSFAIRNESS.COM for POLITICAL ACTION ALERTS so we can unlock the hold on our earned benefits.
Coalition to Assure Retirement Equity (CARE) comprised of over 43 national, state & local organizations, founded in 1991 Supporting & connecting groups & individuals across the country working to REPEAL GPO & WEP. A Voice For Change ! Is your professional association working with CARE? Be a part of the action!
EDUCATE yourself- read WRITE letters/emails SHARE widely MOTIVATE others PERSEVERE What can ONE person do?
FAIRNESS CAN PREVAIL YES, with your help PowerPoint created by Liz Curtis
DEDICATION Produced by ssfairness.com for the benefit of ALL who have dedicated their lives to serving our country & deserve to be HONORED, not demeaned for their undying efforts. Hoping SOON they will be recognized and their RIGHTS RESTORED. 1-4 million lives affected Estimates vary according to source
EVERYONE EVERYWHERE SHOULD CARE! Photos used are not of actual individuals affected. Individual stories are those of real people hurt by GPO/WEP. EVERYWHERE!
YOU can make a difference! BE THE VOICE FOR CHANGE! First, Sign up on SSFAIRNESS.COM For Political Action Alerts. AND….. DO NOT GIVE UP! Then…. TALK,TALK,TALK! WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!