“Eliminate the Windfall Elimination Provision” sounds nice. But it’s just pandering. Published by Jane the Actuary View all posts by Jane the Actuary
22 thoughts on “Forbes post, “Biden And Warren Want To Eliminate The Windfall Elimination Provision. Here’s Why They’re Wrong.””
Yes..all public employees should be able to pay into Social Security! I’m currently trying to decide if I should leave public service so I can increase my substantial earning years. However the GPO seems much more puniative than the WEP, hopefully you’ll write about that too.
I read your article on the WEP provision and why it is wrong to have this law repealed. I disagree with you.
When a worker pays their FULL Social Security taxes and meets the 40 quarter requirement, they should
receive their Full Social Security monthly benefit and not be penalized by WEP.
There are over 1.9 million retired workers affected by WEP even though they paid their FICA taxes.
Lets go after the people who payed NO FICA taxes and receive Social Security and Medicare benefits.
There are spouses that NEVER worked nor paid into Social Security and they receive 1/2 of their
spouse’s benefit. This is wrong and is another reason why the Social Security funds are going to run out.
I think this is simple, don’t be a teacher, firemen or government worker! If you do, you are supporting capitalistic freeloaders living off the services you provide, but complain about the retirement benefits which you paid for.
Remember, you paid 100% during the time you were required to pay Social Security. So, if they only want to give you 50% of the benefits that you paid for, then they should give you the 50% back that you overpaid. Simply put, if you qualify for Social Security benefits which WEP cuts in half, they are cutting what you paid for. No one is giving you anything, instead they are stealing what you paid for, nothing more, nothing less. And, while doing so, putting a cap on the maximum limit rich people have to pay into the system. This is social justice?
Let me tell you something about teaching and government service. My sister taught elementary school until she retired. She now qualifies for welfare to supplement her retirement benefits. Anyone who thinks teachers will get to much money in retirement, is too stupid to teach, even if they have the education to do so!
My brother was thrown out of the military in a reduction of force process after serving 17 years in the Military, which left him months short of the sanctuary zone of 18 years. The government needed to save money!
I am a retired USAF officer, who paid 23 years into the Social Security system, but lost 50% to WEP.
My mother had 8 children, 3 are military retirees. We all have convinced our children and anyone who will listen to us, not to go into government service of any kind. This is not appreciated, and WEP shows this better than any law I can imagine.
So, if you want to support American capitalistic freeloaders, who have never even thought about helping other people or their country, do so. But, please leave your children out of this equation, because they do not deserve the rudeness that these financial, greedy freeloaders expound, because most of them have served nobody but themselves!
i totally disagree with you ..since your not affected yourself and maybe nobody you know is? its so easy to say keep it as it is…but if your a law enforcement officer…teacher…fireman etc that devotes there life to public service often at great risk..and if your government employer without your consent goes off Social Security your suffer a great penalty for all the years you did put into Social Security
I agree with eliminating the windfall tax provision..which has by the way bi partisan support in the Senate and House…With President Biden in office in January we can soon see this happening..
Jane, you are completely wrong on this. If I paid into social security for the required quarters just like someone else did, I shouldn’t be penalized. For one thing, if I worked that many years in the private sector, my state pension is likely to be very small since I wouldn’t have worked as many years for the state government. Having experience in both types of employment sectors enhances your knowledge and ability to do your job – no reason to penalize people. It’s not double dipping…your state pension is based on years of service and those years won’t be so long because of spending so many years working in the private sector. You are outright wrong.
You are not well informed or you’re ignoring other facets about the WEP. People who are, for example only, auto workers or iron workers receive well earned pensions upon retiring. They also get rightfully earned social security because they paid into the system for the requisite amount of time. Yet a postal worker, just for example, under the civil service system, paid into the CSRS system and rightfully earns a CSRS pension upon retirement. However, that postal worker may also have worked in private employment and paid social security taxes on substantial earnings quarters for many years and those benefits are unfairly slashed at unbelievable rates. If that household has 2 postal workers under those same circumstances, they’re hit with the double whammy of the GPO, which means neither can claim social security survivor death benefits. All that money they paid into social security during private employment reverts back to the government. Our leaders always preach to us that hard work is rewarded, yet this is a gross example of hard work penalizing honest, motivated, career workers. These are 2 extremely unjust laws. As for the part about social security being designed to primarily help the poor, then why do the very wealthy receive SS benefits when they pay far less, percentage wise, into the system? Again, unfair and unjust. These laws do little except attack the middle class worker and should be repealed with bipartisan support.
I am a retired federal CSRS and have a SS WEP penalty. After federal retirement I worked another 10 years in a SS covered job, for a total of 62 credits. I do not have a total of 35 years of SS wages, so a lot of zeroes are factored in to my AIME. That is fair. I did not pay in to the SS trust fund, so I do not expect to receive benefits for those years. Yet I have an additional reduction because I chose government as a career. It is a penalty for public service.
Had I not worked in government, and instead quit working after 62 credits and drew welfare, I would receive a benefit double what I have now. All I request is to be receive the same SS as anyone else with similar SS salary history. Private sector pensioned workers do not have their SS benefits reduced for having a pension. Fairness is treating a government pension the same way.
Jane, it is obvious that your background and experience has not given you enough information to determine that the WEP is wrong. I paid into Social Security for 35 years, but of this only 28 was considered by Social Security to be substantial earnings. Then I worked for 5 years as a teacher in a state that did not pay into Social Security so now I am getting penalized. This is my money pure and simple and I expect the retirement to be fair and equitable. In addition, if you are putting your money into a retirement account in addition to Social Security,Jane, I think when your retirement is close, you should be penalized for having different accounts and “double dipping” as you state in your article. Do you then think that would be fair and equitable if done to you? I think not.
My colleagues worked 30 years. They get 80% as well as 2% more for ‘retirement plus’. I am not eligible for retirement plus unless I put 25 years in the teacher retirement. So now I have worked the same amount of years as my colleague just not all as a teacher. Based off of 80,000.00 she receives 65,280.00 for a yearly pension benefit. I too worked 30 years. I was going to receive 600.00 a month ss benefits. But now I will receive 200.00 per month(SS takes 60% not 50%), based on 11 years of credit. 20 years in the teacher retirement = 46% or 35,200. So I receive a total of 37,400 per year while my colleague receives 65, 280.00. Even if I received my full ss benefits, I still wouldn’t get any where near my colleagues pension…I am trying to understand where the double dipping is…
I have been punished for working 2 jobs most of my adult life.
After working 25 years at UIC and earning free health care upon my retirement. I found out that I was enrolled in medicare after taking a promotion so that meant I had free health care for 10 years after retirement. at 65 I was forced to take medicare and to pay for part B. That was not in my budget. I also had to pay a penalty for part B because of the pre-2 year salary so every one was paying 121.00 I had to pay 187.50 for a year. also I lost 2/3rds of my SS benefit. After 5 years of getting SS I don’t even have a net check of 450.00. It would be better if you rolled over my SS contributions to my pension plan than strip me of my earned SS. I contributed twice as much as my two brothers who get 1400.00 and 1800.00 a month it is just not fair!! Plus the medicare plans available to me are terrible–the prescriptions are too expensive and the co-pays too high !
How can you let UIC make a deal to move their employees to medicare at age 65??
Then change their earned free health care to one that is more expensive than the one I had when I was working?? You say Medicare and SS are not related but you take the payment for medicare out of my SS–to me that is double dipping!
I retired at age 55 with healthcare free for life. At age 65 I was forced to move to medicare this was a nightmare! I don’t think it is fair to make me pay 3 times more for SS than most but get 4 times less benefit than most! iF YOU CAN MAKE A DEAL TO MOVE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES TO MEDICARE AT AGE 65 YOU CAN ALSO MAKE A DEAL TO MOVE THEIR SS CONTRIBUTIONS TO THEIR PENSION OR THERE PENSION TO SS**
I think you are wrong. If you believe what you say wealthy should not receive ss. I worked as a firefighter for 31 years and did not pay ss. All my time on the fire department I worked a part time job, and paid ss also paid in the military. I did not pay a reduced rate, so why should I receive a reduced rate?
I worked 23 years as a police officer. I also worked other jobs prior to my police career, during my police career and after my police career contributing into social security. Upon reaching retirement age my social security benefit was slashed significantly because of WEP. Yes I get a pension from the city I served but I also had enough quarters worked and paid into social security earning the right to collect that benefit. I believe cutting that benefit is unfair just because I get a pension that I also worked for by risking my life every day. It is not as is termed “double dipping” if you worked for both benefits. This WEP program should be repealed or at the very least reformed. You are welcome for my service.
In Theory the penalties make sense, but this is not the reality. I worked a few years as a teacher in a school system where I paid SS, literally 40 years ago and my salary was 9,000. I stopped working to raise children. My husband was a teacher in a system where he got both a pension and SS. Then I returned to be a school social worker in DC, no SS. I am near retirement. My husband is older and in poor health and I will likely outlive him. I will not have much SS or pension income, and to loose the benefits of the spousal income is an unfair hardship. I have worked hard as a public servant and so has he. We worked as a team. We are not talking about people double dipping , but just trying to have a retirement that will provide a modest income. I am being penalized for raising my children and for moving to a school system. This is a reflection on the low value that our society has for teachers and civil servants. It is time to support those of us who choose these jobs because we are motivated to help others and are willing to have lower pay. None of us are sitting on big fat pensions or living high on the hog. This penalty is a stingy testimony to the lack of regard and even willingness to listen or fully comprehend the impact this is having. It is not a formula on a page, it is creating herdship.
I retired from the government put in my forty quarters payed in SS and because I received a retirement from the government my SS benefits were reduced by 60% if I payed it in I should be able to draw what I earned
Before my 25+ years in federal law enforcement under CSRS, I had 37 quarters (credits) for social security. I have been “retired” 13 years and have worked the entire time in my own business, paying both sides of social security. Not being an actuary, what I understand is this: if taxes are raised any higher, and I continue to pay into social security without getting any/much benefit, I will stop working. If enough of us stop working…
Get rid of Windfall Elimination Taxes. Try raising a family and buy a house on a teacher’s salary in the Boston area today. You will not survive. With the Covid crisis, this is why we will have a massive teacher shortage soon.
I paid into social security for over twenty years because I had another job before I became a teacher for most 20 years. Now, as a retired teacher, I make only 1700 from the teacher retirement system and only 400 from social security after the windfall elimination reductions. After taking out medicare and supplemental insurance payments, I have less than 1800 a month to live on. That means I will work till I die. It is unfair that I cannot have the social security benefits that I paid in and credits I earned from my work previous to becoming a teacher. I am being punished unfairly.
You say teachers “appear “on paper” to have low wages.” Perhaps you don’t truly understand how WEP applies to all groups affected by it, in particular part-time teachers.
Consider a person who earned the reverse of what you discuss. In other words, someone who earned a significant amount of their lifetime income form SS work and a small amount from non-SS jobs. An example might be someone who worked in the business world (SS) and also as a substitute teacher (non-SS). This person will get a small non-SS pension for teaching, only to have a significant amount of it taken away by WEP. That isn’t/wasn’t the intention of WEP the way I understand it, in fact it is exactly the opposite.
Here’s a real-life example:
43 years of SS earnings totaling $1.75 million ($40,700/year avg) – monthly SS benefit of $2,031
20 years part time work as a substitute teacher with non-SS earnings totaling $132,000 ($6,600/year avg) – monthly pension of $470.
This person does not have “low wages,” yet will lose 50% of their pension due to WEP ($235/month).
If you are going to write on a subject, you should cover all aspects of it, not just those that fit your agenda or that you understand.
Teacher got unfair percentage loss of Pension