Like so many similar issues, the answer to the WEP likes in revising it, not in a giveaway to teachers. Published by Jane the Actuary View all posts by Jane the Actuary
19 thoughts on “Forbes post, “Why Joe Biden Should Reform, Not Repeal, The Windfall Elimination Provision””
Dear Jane: When Congress and others (especially the Republicans) can enrich themselves by tailoring WEP and GPO “exceptions” to their benefit, they must realize that the WEP is UNFAIR. If someone in 2020 is earning less than $75,000 in pension benefits, they should not be penalized by WEP. If you are NOT affected by WEP, it really is none of your business to comment and hurt over 2,5 million hard-working members who ARE affected!! Some people are losing over $408.00 per month, and recent retirees lose $428.00 per month.
You also FORGET that some retirees who are WEP affected have paid into dual systems in their retirement — public pensions AND Social Security. The GPO (Government Pension Offset) has a provision that if you worked the last 5 years and paid into both systems prior to retirement, you are excluded from any penalties. How convenient of Congress to give themselves, once again, a free pass at exclusions.
The same should apply for the WEP — if you paid into BOTH systems five or six years prior to retirement, you should be exempted from the 30-year rule. Mr. Ronald Reagan, the originator of the WEP and GPO in the first place, managed to collect 3 pensions at the time of his retirement.
Posting this for all to see just what IS fair and not fair.
WEP is not only unfair that a person who serves in the public system has their Social Security reduced because they took on private work to supplement their income. Those who paid into Social Security from a second job and work for a public government job have their Social Security reduced or penalized because they work as a teacher, firefighters or police officer yet those who are mayors or justices do not. This is absolutely wrong and your article is misleading.
Yes it is unfair. I worked 24 years paying into Soc Sec. Even after a major back surgery returned back to work in manual labor for another 7 years before another injury. I had to fight the sorry Soc Sec Administration for 6 dam years to get disability and they even screwed me then. After years of about starving on the measly check I managed to return to a Local Government Job.
Now old enough to collect some of my Soc Sec but come to find out,When I retire from my government job The Thieves are gonna screw me again for over $400 from my Soc Sec . The Government is nothing but a Legal Thief
how many articles have you written on this subject?
are you personally affected by the current law or any changes to the law?
Did you support the election of PRESIDENT ELECT Biden?
Do you believe the election results were fair and unbasied?
Just four questions to ask
Just remember when WEP started in the 80s – when Ronald Reagan decided to start leeching money out of the Social Security system and found a way through WEP – a little known fact! I don’t think many people would object to giving our underpaid teachers, firefighters, and police officers an extra couple of hundred dollars a month.
It’s insulting and manipulative that the argument is always couched in “fairness” – was it fair that senators and congressmen’s sons were able to escape draft to Vietnam by enrolling in college and that poor people, especially people of color, had to go fight a war in a place we never belonged?
Please – stop talking about fairness – nothing is fair.
I agree with the comments. WEP and GPO is unfair when you and/or your spouse have paid into the SS system to qualify for benefits and they are denied because of civil service work.
Not only do we not get the benefits owed to us, civil servants give up the opportunity for greater pay in the for-profit marketplace. Where is the fairness in that?
I can understand if you one has never paid into the system, but those who have should receive what is due to them through the SS system. It is my prayer that this is repealed in the early years of Biden’s tenure as president.
I have been in education for 41 years. In 23 of those years I worked in states which took social security from my check. The yearly statement I receive will be reduce by about 40% even though it shows 0 for the years I did not pay into SS. I am not asking for more than the years I worked but just for the years I worked. Just pay be for the 23 years I worked in SS positions, don’t take it away.
It almost like putting money in the bank them going to get it and they reduce what you have in your account.
Regarding the WEP. Your article addresses Teachers, but does not acknowledge the millions more non teaching professionals employed in schools around the nation. We are the non-certificated (classified)professionals: The school LVN’s, cooks, maintenance personnel, librarians, instructional assistants, speech and physical therapy assistants, office staff…most of us have college degrees.
In California, our public pensions are based on Service Credit- not years of service: 6 hours per day X number of instructional days per year. OurService Credit never reflects our annual years of employment. Working 9-10 months per year, our pensions are nominal. I worked under Social Security 20 years in private industry before my organization went bankrupt. I worked as a low-wage school employee 18 years after. My school earnings never matched my earnings in the private sector. I found out after my school retirement ( I retired at 56), I would lose an arbitrary 40% of my Social Security benefits…regardless of my school pension being $600 after 18 years of employment.
There is no getting around the fact that WEP is arbitrary and unfair. It would not matter if my school pension was $100 per month- as it stands now, I would lose 40% of what should be almost $1,100 per month this year at age 65.
I am a potential recipient of Canada Pension Plan (CPC) benefits. My CPC will be subject to a 50% garnishment in Canada and WEP will take the remaining 50%, leaving me with nothing. I earned my CPC and my Social Security benefits. Why should I notvreceive them in full?
I’d like to second John Burgi’s comment. By current standards of “fairness” the WEP in general has a certain logic and justification, but the provisions are over stringent. I’ve 21 years public sector employment, 14 reciprocal with social security 7 not. Of a total 41 years paying social security taxes on my wages, only 27 “make the cut” of the “substantial earnings” table, nearly all of the remaining 14 missing by relatively small amounts. So in my case, neither the 2/3 of my public employment which participated in Social Security, nor my periods of low-wage work (the very circumstance for which Social Security is meant to provide a safety net) affect the amount of my WEP benefit reduction.
I am a Postal retiree affected by the WEP and the GPO. I understand that the Social Security benefit should be based on a lifetime of contributions rather than a few short years, and those like myself who have worked in SS covered jobs for a low number of years should receive a reduced benefit. I accept that. However, the GPO affects my spouse’s benefit in an unfair way. SHE is the one who has earned the 50% spousal benefit. If she were married to someone who never worked a day in his life, they would be eligible for another 50% of her benefit because she earned. Also a man with low earnings is still entitled to 50% of his wife’s benefit if his own benefit would be lower. That is because SHE earned the spousal benefit. It is unfair to reduce a benefit SHE earned just because I happened to have worked for the Postal Service.
I am also affected by the WEP and I worked 36 yrs in federal government, retired and worked approximately 25 yrs in a private industry position paying social security. My reason because I did not a have a high paying position while working for the government but little did I know that this WEP was a law ready to take away my rights. I don’t make no where $75,000 yr. and think it is unfair that I’m penalized for working both to help myself. I am highly upset that our Congressional and Senators can do this to us. I am praying hard that something is done before Year is out. I have worked very hard and am struggling in my retirement to live. I am a single retiree without any help and am disabled and worked an additional 15 yrs after retiring from Federal service; then got sick and became disabled. I would appreciate it if this WEP was dissolved or reduced.
When remarking about the NEA and their advocating for funds to those “who opt out” of social security, please do some fact checking. Do you have any statistics on the number of teachers who only work one job? Most teachers that I know work a second job, where they pay into social security. Prior to becoming a teacher at age 40, I worked as an RN, paying into social security as I had done since I was 16 years old. I continued to work part time in addition to teaching, continuing to pay into social security but earned far below the “substantial earnings” threshold of $21,000.00. My social security statements say that I have earned a $1200.00 per month benefit. However the WEP will strip me of 2/3 of my investment into social security, paying me a whopping $400.00 per month. Not to worry that pension you mention that I am taking away from the poor is $2000.00 per month. Not exactly the windfall that the public needs to be protected from me receiving, is it? Your implications fuel the narrative that teachers are in some way greedy and I find them to be not only hurtful but untrue and offensive. My former spouse on the other hand will receive a $4500.00 per month pension from UPS. In addition, his social security payment will be $2300.00 per month. Just curious, is that $6800.00 per month considered greedy or fair? Please try to avoid painting teachers and the NEA as villains.
My Social Security benefits are less because of WEP. This is an unfair law that must be overturned. It penalizes workers(especially women) in the field of Education even though many years of my employment & earnings was in another state and any years not in Education. I am zapped by the horrible Windfall Law that is only in 13 states. I never was told about this Windfall law when I moved to one of the 13 states that penalizes workers in Education. It was many years later when I learned of it. This law must be changed.
I don’t care if a democratic body or republican takes credit for getting it done. It is obvious this WEP calculation needs to be reversed, No windfall. Let’s just hurt the groups already underpaid. How can we encourage some one in administration to get this done. Good place for a Presidential Order to save the day. This can has been kicked along for too long.
I get 230 from SS has been since I retired in 2013. I paid into SS for 21 years was sent flyers saying I would get my SS when retire, my ex husband paid into SS for 35 years, I stayed home first ten years to raise 3 children, We divorced after 35 years of marriage I returned to teaching did not kNow I was not contributing! My retirement is now a small gov.pension and nothing from ex ( gov. Off set) the gov. , stole my SS , I live at poverty level, scared to get sick! All savings are gone, if government. Can increase Wages to 15. An hour why not SS. My gov. Is a thief.
Hmmm. Me’thinks Jane needs her oil changed. The Reagan Administration were thieves and scoundrels. WEP/GPO was a contrivance to dress up the social security trust fund by making journal entries for all the money they would swipe from retirees over the ensuing decades. Have workers pay in, but don’t give them their fair benefits. Smoke and mirrors. That wasn’t social security reform. It was a mugging. Meanwhile they could siphon off funds to pay for welfare to corporations? Lady…just stop. Underpaid civil servants who also play by the rules and pay social security tax (and their employers) working in the private sector for the same number of years as some non civil servants should get exactly what those workers receive. Get your oil changed, Jane. Then have a glass of wine and stop being such a cold-hearted….