2019 was another
busy year for Colorado PERA and the people who bring you PERA on the Issues.
Here are a few highlights from the stories and issues covered in the last year.
Top topic of
2019: Social Security, WEP and the GPO
If it’s unexpected
that the most popular topic covered by PERA on the Issues is something
over which PERA has little control, it shouldn’t be. Although rules governing
Social Security are set at the federal level, PERA members are especially concerned
about the fairness of two provisions: the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)
and Government Pension Offset (GPO). These provisions can reduce Social
Security benefits paid to public service employees (and their spouses) who do
not participate in Social Security.
The article with the most traffic on the site in 2019, New WEP/GPO repeal bill needs broader support to become law, questioned whether bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress in January had any chance of being signed into law, or if it was destined to see the same fate as multiple previous attempts at legislation that would resolve the issue. Readers also had a chance to learn about efforts of PERA staff to educate members of Congress in another popular article about WEP and GPO impacts on PERA members and other Coloradans. A third article explained in more detail how these two distinct retirement benefit programs are interrelated.
Readers in 2019 remained interested in an important PERA on the Issues topic: state legislation. During the legislative session that ended in May, the Board of Trustees and PERA staff closely followed bills addressing member contribution rates for local government employees and climate-related financial risks, an issue discussed at length in the 2019 Investment stewardship Report.
Finally, readers also viewed tactical information about ways that workers might grow their retirement savings and assess risks to their retirement security. These top-performing stories are good reminders that readers care about the policies and practicalities of saving for a secure retirement.
members and looking ahead
While a post about WEP all the way back in 2015 is still the standard-bearer as most-discussed for PERA on the Issues with 125 comments, the WEP/GPO repeal bill proposed in 2019 drew more than 115 comments this year. This is yet another indicator of just how important this issue remains for our members and readers. PERA staff will continue to track any developments at the Congressional level and keep our readers informed. Staff will also monitor developments in Colorado’s General Assembly, where the session will begin on January 8, 2020.
Keep watching your
inbox for more news from PERA on the Issues and let us know how we can
continue to provide information that is useful and illuminating.
To our readers, we
wish you a healthy and happy holiday season and look forward to hearing from
you in the new year.
Windfall elimination provisionA provision of federal law that may reduce Social Security benefit payments to retirees who receive a pension based on work during which they did not contribute to Social Security. The WEP does not apply to those with 30 or more years of substantial earnings in Social Security.StewardshipThe practice of overseeing or managing something entrusted to one’s care. PERA’s approach to investment stewardship is focused on ensuring the financial sustainability of the fund that pays benefits to retirees and beneficiaries.StewardshipThe practice of overseeing or managing something entrusted to one’s care. PERA’s approach to investment stewardship is focused on ensuring the financial sustainability of the fund that pays benefits to retirees and beneficiaries.Government pension offsetA provision of federal law that reduces Social Security dependent benefit payments to spouses, widows, and widowers who receive a government pension like PERA.