Retirement insights from a Colorado PERA perspective

Legislation & Governance

WEP/GPO Bill Introduced in D.C.

photo credit: KenTannenbaum – 495600910 – GettyImages

A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 4 would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) provisions.

Since these became law more than three decades ago, there have been numerous bills introduced to repeal them. None have passed.

This is a topic of concern for many PERA members. Why? The WEP and GPO can affect retirement planning in a serious way. During their working years, a PERA member might receive a benefit estimate from Social Security with one number on it, but when they claim their benefit years later, the amount is often less. Sometimes a lot less.

“Why are PERA members penalized?” “Are folks in other states affected?” “Who has the power to change this?” “Will this this bill likely pass?” “What is PERA doing about it?” These are some examples of questions PERA often receives from its members.

In light of this new legislation, PERA On The Issues asked these questions to PERA’s legal and government affairs staff.

An Overview of the WEP/GPO

The internet is filled with articles about this topic, including on Social Security’s website. Through the years, PERA On The Issues has also covered this topic:

The articles above contain in-depth explanations. Here’s a high-level overview:

  • Most PERA employers do not participate in Social Security. This means employees do not pay the 6.2% Social Security tax. Instead, they contribute to PERA. This is why PERA is considered a Social Security replacement. It is important to point out that PERA benefits are never reduced by Social Security or any other retirement plan.
  • However, many people who participate in PERA pay Social Security taxes while at other jobs at other points in their career or are married to someone who qualifies for a Social Security benefit. That’s where the WEP/GPO come in. While a person can earn both benefits, Social Security can reduce the Social Security benefit people receive on account of the years they did not pay Social Security taxes. These reductions apply if a person has less than 30 years of substantial earnings while paying Social Security taxes.
  • There are other details covered in the articles above, including how the WEP differs from the GPO, how these benefits are calculated, how paying Social Security taxes for at least 20 years can lower the reduction, and more.

PERA Staff Answer Questions about Legislation

Michael Steppat, PERA’s Public and Government Affairs Manager and Jennifer Schreck, PERA Senior Staff Attorney and Manager of Legal Services, answered questions about WEP/GPO legislation.

Can the Colorado legislature or PERA change anything to get around the WEP/GPO?

Jennifer Schreck: No. While PERA members are affected by these laws, they are affected because of the years they don’t participate in Social Security—not because they are PERA members. Social Security is administered at the federal level. These laws exists at the federal level, so any changes to how Social Security works would need to take place at the federal level.

Who is affected by the WEP/GPO? Would this bill change it for everyone?

Jennifer Schreck: Anyone who works for an employer that doesn’t participate in Social Security is currently affected by WEP/GPO laws. This includes approximately a quarter of state and local government employees across the country. If this bill passed as currently written, it would eliminate the WEP/GPO for everyone.

If this legislation passes, would my PERA benefit be affected?

Jennifer Schreck: No. Your PERA benefit is determined by state law—not federal law. The WEP/GPO do not affect your PERA benefit now, and if the WEP/GPO were repealed your PERA benefit would remain unaffected.

Does this bill have political support?

Michael Steppat: The introduced bill does have bipartisan support—members from both parties have signed on as sponsors of the bill. President Biden has stated his support for eliminating the WEP/GPO. However, previous attempts to repeal the WEP/GPO have had bipartisan support as well.

Who would be against eliminating the WEP/GPO and why?

Michael Steppat: Opponents of past WEP/GPO legislation often cite fiscal constraints. Paying higher benefits to the people affected by the WEP/GPO would cost money. Opponents of the bill say it’s not fair to those who paid Social Security taxes for their entire career. There are plenty of lawmakers with this opinion, especially considering the majority of public employees, not to mention those in the private sector, do pay Social Security taxes.

What is the likelihood that this bill passes?

Michael Steppat: It’s hard to see what has changed since prior bills have been introduced and failed.

Where do Colorado’s lawmakers stand, and what is PERA doing about this issue?

Michael Steppat: Of the current 52 co-sponsors of the bill, none is from Colorado. However Colorado Senator Bennett and Representatives Crow, Neguse, Perlmutter, and Tipton did sign on to the last iteration of legislation repealing WEP/GPO and may do so again with this new bill if they choose.

While PERA continues to educate our Congressional delegation on this issue of great importance to members, the most effective advocacy is for constituents to contact their member of Congress and share what impact these laws have on them.

Comments

  1. John G. Paton says:

    Well since the “higher cost” of elimination of the WEP/GPO one has to take into consideration that the cost would be paid for with “our monies” and surely the Gov would reduce the amounts that we would receive just not as much as is taken away now. As for the other aspect I don’t understand with Gov intervention and the “bucks” involved where “fairness” even comes into play? All is fair in love and war; but not politics!

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      Hi John,

      One key difference between PERA and Social Security is that with PERA, your benefit is directly related to what you put in. In other words, you will always get back what you put in, and the longer you work and the higher your HAS is, the bigger your benefit becomes. Social Security on the other hand, was designed to be a safety net program: people with lower career earnings get a higher percentage of their average income while higher earnings get a lower percentage. As a result, some people (even those who aren’t affected by the WEP/GPO) won’t get back what they put into Social Security.

    • Valerie Hunt says:

      I was able to “buy” retirement years after the national disaster of 09/01/01 and I bought 17 years for almost $100K from rolling over the balance of my mutual funds. Then I cannot receive the social security I did pay into for 22 years without being penalized 45% on my earnings in social security. Completely unfair!

    • Michael Byerly says:

      I have been Engineering tech for the Federal government for 14 years at the Dallas VA. After paying full social security payments throughout those 14 years, I am being penalized over $400.00 per month from Social Security because I had retired from the City of Dallas that isn’t a member of the SS Program. My social security payment is adjusted with the 35 year SS fracture. That is fair. However, the further 40% reduction due to WEP is not fair. It doesn’t seem fair to take 100% social security payments and then upon retirement, take out an additional 40%.

    • Anthony rivard says:

      I’m devastated 20 years active Air Force and only $920 pension before taxes and pension insurance 20 years!!! They took out SS 20 years as a high school teacher another $2200 My SS is only $780 They are gonna take $480 of that????? So sad

  2. Karen E Gavin says:

    I think WEP/GPO should be repealed. No one has a choice as to how their payroll taxes are charged. I wanted to work for a university and help students be more successful. I didn’t ask what type of payroll taxes I would have when I applied for the job. Maybe if I realized the impact my job would have on my retirement I would have made a different choice. I have lost half of my Social Security for the rest of my life for a job that didn’t offer me a pension by the time I retired. Hopefully I won’t have to depend on other state social programs as I age because I don’t have enough money to live on.

    • Lou Francalancia says:

      I am an 80 year old retired in 2014Elementary school counselor
      Because of the WEP and GOP Security reductions I live below the poverty level and have exhausted my savings. Please repeal the Wep and Gop so I can have some quality of life in my final years

  3. H R Kosley says:

    This whole thing is a mess & unfair. Illegals can get social security benefits but we can’t even after paying into it for years. This needs to be repealed.

    • KM Thorson says:

      I started paying into SSN when I was 16 years old. In 1997 my 2nd husband died; my first husband died when he was 34 years old. I began my career with the State in 1997.When I was eligible to draw on my deceased husbands SSN I was able to finally make a living wage while working for the State. I retired from the State with 17 years of service and my PERA benefits kicked in. The State of Colorado instantly cut my SSN benefits by 50%. They considered SSN as supplemental income now. Wrong!!

    • Vera Moreno-Hamm says:

      I´m wondering how an illegal immigrant can draw benefits without documentation? They work and get nothing!

      • Victoria Pappas says:

        Since undocumented immigrants are not eligible to be issued a social security number, they are not eligible for Social Security Benefits and will never receive them unless they manage to get through the expensive and difficult process of becoming legal U.S. residents or U.S. citizens. It is a myth that undocumented immigrants living in any U.S. State are eligible for Social Security Benefits and many gullible people unfortunately believe what they hear from other uneducated people, and this is a contributing factor to hatred toward, and hate crimes perpetrated against undocumented immigrants.

    • Jan says:

      Absolutely.

    • Kevin says:

      Since you are obviously a Republican, you need to talk to your Republican members of Congress about this. Every one of our Democratic Senators and all except one of our Democratic Congressional representatives (What does DeGette have against working class retirees?) have voted to repeal GPO/WEP. Not one single Republican has cosponsored these bills. They say they’re against taxes, but that’s exactly what GPO/WEP is. It’s an incredibly unfair tax on public servants. BTW, it is impossible for “illegal” immigrants to get Social Security benefits since an illegal immigrant wouldn’t even have a social security account. Focus people. Demand that your representative cosponsor this repeal bill. HR82.

  4. Carol Roehrs says:

    I paid Social Security taxes for one career and PERA for another with very little overlap. Why should the second career cancel out much of the retirement I earned in the first career? Not fair.

    • Christie Einspahr says:

      Very true, Carol!
      I worked 2-3 jobs as a single mom. I have my quarters in Social Security. Why shouldn’t I receive both PERA and Social Security (without reduction)

    • Nancy says:

      Exactly!! I totally agree! WEP cancels much of the SS benefit of non PERA years. Unfair!

    • Ronda McGee says:

      I worked and paid into both PERA and SS. Almost 30 years PERA & 20 years SS. I have 2 female relatives that receive SS income. 1 never worked but received 1/2 of her husbands SS benefits when she turned 65. The other received 1/2 of her ex-husbands SS benefit because she was married to him for more than 10 years & never remarried. How is it fair that the money I paid into SS will be reduced or eliminated when there are those that never worked or paid into SS that receive benefits ?

  5. Lynn says:

    This is insanely unfair! It is NOT taking money that we did not pay into. If we worked part of our career life paying into Social security and part paying into PERA, WHY SHOULDN’T WE BE ABLE TO GET OUR FAIR SHARE OF SOCIAL SECURITY???

    REPEAL IT!!!!

  6. Lonnie says:

    This law is communistic! Yes I said the dirty word. but its true, and its time something was done about it. Why are we electing our law makers based on political affiliation? Its time to wake up people and vote for the law makers that support bills like this one and oust the rest. How they vote on bills is public!!!!

  7. Barry Northrop says:

    The perennial bill to repeal WEP/GPO is again on deck. I would love for it to pass but anticipate another strike out.

  8. Nancy Mohler says:

    It seems we are being penalized for a long working life; paying into social security and then having that reduced since we get Pera benefits. By the way, Pera benefits have been reduced significantly from what I was promised. Both systems have taken away from a lifetime of working.

  9. Ramona says:

    I don’t have a problem with SS not giving me a benefit because I never paid in to it. However, I have a problem with my husband’s SS spousal benefit to me (should he die first) being affected the way it is because I am a PERA member.

    • Christie Einspahr says:

      Yes! This isn’t fair. We aren’t asking for folks to receive Social Security if they haven’t paid in. We are asking for those who have or who have spouses who have, not have their benefits reduced when they draw their PERA benefits.

    • SHARON MAAG says:

      My husband passed away this past summer and had paid into SS for 44 years at the same job. I receive my PERA retirement but can only receive $200 per month of his earnings because I am on PERA. As a school bus driver my income is not very much due to the hours I worked, so I should be able to receive much more SS if this bill was passed and WEP done away with. I may eventually have to depend on social services but I do not want to!

    • jf says:

      Definitely my case as well. I had an entire career outside the PERA system prior to my government employment; however, my social security was reduced nearly two-thirds due to my PERA pension.
      I am also ineligible to receive my husband’s social security. Since he paid the highest tax into social security for his entire career, this is very frustrating and unfair on all fronts.

    • Sheryl Shipton says:

      I totally agree! I did not pay into SS most of my work life, but my husband did. As his widow of 14 years, the GPO wipes out any benefits I could be receiving. Those were benefits he earned and are now lost to his family because of where I worked. It unfairly caps retirement income for those working in the public sector.

  10. Ben Varner says:

    I taught for 47 years at an institution which pays only into PERA; however, I also ran a consulting business which paid quarterly taxes into FICA. When I retired, half of my Social Security pension was deducted because of my membership in PERA. That certainly is not fair.
    Moreover, now when any of my young friends ask me about a teaching career, I warn them that if they intend to draw a full Social Security pension, they must NOT accept a teaching position which requires payment into PERA. The federal government will unfairly penalize them.

    • Ramona says:

      I think they can actually work in PERA then take the payout option when they retire (don’t get a defined benefit) then claim SS.

  11. Rita M. Porter says:

    Repeal it!!! It affects spousal benefits. It should have nothing to do with spousal benefits after your spouse passes. Everyone else is entited to the benefits except me. He paid into it for all those years, I should have the same entitlement as others. Has nothing to do with my income.

    • Carol Going says:

      I agree. I had to sign a document indicating that I would get zero of my husband’s SS if he passes before I do. He paid it; I should get the portion of SS that other widows receive. I have a friend who married a German National and lives in Munich. He receives SS. How does that happen??

    • Jen Farley says:

      Definitely my case as well. I had an entire career outside the PERA system prior to my government employment; however, my social security was reduced nearly two-thirds due to my PERA pension.
      I am also ineligible to receive my husband’s social security. Since he paid the highest tax into social security for his entire career, this is very frustrating and unfair on all fronts.

    • Theresa Case says:

      I agree, my husband passed at 57 years old, and had paid into SS since he was 16. I am retired Pera, and I have had to pay health care, as he was providing that. I still have all the same monthly bills, just 1/2 the income. I’m not being charged half price for property taxes, health insurance, car insurance, utilities etc. Health insurance skyrockets, but no Pera increases. Oh , I won’t be 65 for 4 more years. Thank you for anything that would change. This is not fair. Struggling widow!

  12. Jennie Jones says:

    Totally unfair had to work two jobs to pay bills. Now they take 2/3 of my social security because I get pera. What a con job, congressman get their wage for life after serving.

    • Christie Einspahr says:

      Yes! Me too. Not fair.

    • Stan says:

      It is not true that congressmen get their wage for life after serving. The majority are in the FERS system of retirement (if they entered Congress after 1984, when this system was enacted). They must serve 5 years to be eligible for retirement, and cannot draw retirement until reaching age 62. They are also capped at 80% of their high three average, which they would be able to draw after 67 years in Congress. For more information do a search for Congressional Retirement.

  13. George Scott says:

    Email members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and urge their support of HR 82!

    • Kathy Williams says:

      I based my retirement decision on those promises. Now it’s just tough luck!

    • Valerie Hunt says:

      I have 22 years of gainful employment in social security and them worked in higher education; State employment, at many colleges. In 2003, and again after 09/01/01, I had the opportunity to have PERA evaluate my soc sec report. They did and told me I was eligible to buy; (note “buy”), 21 retirement years and that I could roll over my mutual funds which had lost 40% after 09/01/01. I paid for most of these retirement years in PERA myself and shouldn’t lose 45% of my social security earnings when I used my own money to purchase PERA retirement. Replies?

  14. Troy Phelps says:

    Thank you for the update, Pera. I will contact my representative right away.

  15. William Angermann says:

    The WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) was enacted in the 1980s specifically to prevent government employees from getting a “windfall” when they retire by collecting both a pension, and social security. I do not know of any public employee who is or has gotten rich by collecting their pension, and the reduced amount SSA offers them in retirement. In fact, most government employee retirees are in desperate need of whatever additional funds they could get with the WEP/GPO elimination. The amount will always be lower based on the reduced amount government employees paid into SSA during their working years. At least let us retire in dignity, and allow us to not constantly worry if our retirement allotments will be enough to keep us fed, housed, and clothed in retirement.

  16. Robin says:

    I sincerely hope the legislators will do the right thing. Repeal the WEP.
    Many PERA retirees have voiced in writing sound and fact based reasoning for this repeal.
    Congretional Reps: “Please listen, do the right thing.”

  17. Beverly says:

    Read the Congressional Research Report referenced in a prior PERA article. The arguments for and against the WEP are not balanced nor nearly as descriptive as the comments of our PERA members here. Perhaps we should be reaching out to our Congressional Delegation requesting a true representation of the lifetime contributions that those of us that have worked in both systems have made. I would not vote to change the WEP either if all I had to inform me was the outdated and poorly written Congressional Research Document on WEP, supposedly updated 2/4/21.

  18. Jeanne says:

    It should definitely be repealed. I worked for 17 years in the private sector. Why should I be penalized for getting PERA? I worked hard for everything I earned under social security. I’m not asking for a hand out. I’m asking for what I earned.

    • William Pittman says:

      I have always likened it to working for Ford Motor Corp. and then working for General Motors! Why should I be penalized later in life when I had no choice as to which retirement plan I was signing on to? Had I had the choice, I would definitely have chosen PERA! Private industry and retired Military are not oppressed like this! Please repeal!

    • sonja strom says:

      I worked for 22 years covered by SS PRIOR to this provisions implementation. I had completed double the required 40 quarters. I completed my end of the requirement. Employees in my agency listened to a SS representative who advised the only penalty to drop SS would be a 5 year limit to apply for disability so it was voted to drop SS. I’ve been angry for years..I was penalized retroactively. Illegals get way more than my meager benefit and I’m more angry than ever. I’m going to make an appt with my senator’s office and get on this bandwagon. I’ve written many times but responses have been idiotic. Go team!

  19. Jeffrey Esbenshade says:

    Retired military get both SS and military pension

  20. Gregg Garvin says:

    Political Extortion! I’m being robbed!

  21. Michael Stoffler says:

    Would the passing of this bill, restore full SocSec benefits to those who have been retired already . . . 2010?

  22. Joe Laterra says:

    First, thanks to those elected officials that are supporting The bill, Senator Bennett, Representatives Crow, Negose, Tipton and Perlmutter as Pera benefit recipients let’s be certain to vote for them for reelection. Secondly, keep reminding those in charge that because we earned the benefit while working, reducing the amount is discrimination. Perhaps an anti-discriminaation law suit would provide a fresh approach. Finally, any amount the Fed would start returning would be subject to Income tax just like our Social Security benefits are now.

  23. Linda White says:

    So where is the social security money going to? I worked 27 years under SS, then 17 under PERA. and get about half ss in retirement. Discrimination. Period. I used my skills and paid into both. I should have my full benefit. I am disappointed in Colorado. Now is when as a retiree I need MY money.

  24. Laura Page says:

    While the reason for the WEP has some validity, the formula for benefit adjustment is arbitrary and disproportionately penalizes lower-wage workers.

  25. Lawrence says:

    The important takeaway from this article is the last paragraph. If you want something done, YOU need to advocate for yourself and contact your elected officials. Here’s what I wrote to my representatives. Feel free to use it as a template or tell them how you are personally affected.
    I am asking for your support in the repeal of WEP. Having worked in both the private sector and Colorado State government, I am directly impacted by not receiving my full Social Security benefit. This legislation needs to be given more than lip service and repealed for those of us losing the full benefit we paid for and rightfully deserve. I realize this is an uphill battle but trust you will work hard on our behalf to see this through. Thank you for your continued efforts. Here is a brief summary; U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) re-introduced H.R. 82, the bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act (SSFA), which eliminates the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO), two titles of the Social Security Act that unfairly reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits for millions of Americans who have devoted much of their careers to public service.

  26. Patti says:

    I thought I understood and planned for my retirement, including WEP. Since I had 30 years in Social Security, WEP did not affect my SSA payments. However, I did not know that GPO would apply to spousal SSA benefits. My husband had a much higher SSA benefit than I and we understood that I would receive his higher SSA spousal benefit in case he predeceased me. When he died and I went to the SSA office to apply for benefits, I was shocked to find that my PERA benefit would reduce the SSA spousal benefit to almost nothing. Without his higher SSA benefit I was forced to sell my home and most of my belongings and leave Colorado. Those of us who had careers with benefits from both PERA and SSA feel deceived and cheated by our own government by WEP and GPO reducing or eliminating benefits we worked for.

  27. Joseph Barnes says:

    Terrible law lost my job in 1997 due to NAFTA,employed by gm. Went into government service 23 years later I have to retire 26 years of private service being penalized by half terrible.

    • Heather says:

      I am a retired teacher with 40 years in the field. When my children were 8 and 14 my husband of 17 years decided a women he met at work was what he wanted and ended our marriage. Divorce, something I never wanted or had the foresight to plan for, was financially devastating. My oldest son was so scared we would lose our house that he immediately started combing the neighborhood for yard work, car washing, clean-up or anything that could make money. My ex-husband was not a consistent or fair child support provider so I worked nights and summers to make ends meet and not lose our home. I worked a lot of hours for over fourteen years until both my sons were through college. I mostly worked in the restaurant business and in all my side jobs I paid into Social Security. When I retired, based on SS calculations, I should have received about $900. per month. Instead I receive $165. per month and SS pays my Medicare monthly premium causing my earned SS of $900. be reduced to around $300. I could really use the additional $600. per month and feel, since I paid into the system enough to receive a monthly distribution of $900. this huge reduction is very unfair!! I am not receiving this money, MY MONEY, based on my contributions. Please work to pass the elimination of the WEP and GPO. These laws impact far more women than men and in my opinion are discriminatory. The elementary school teaching job is not now and never has been or will be a high paying profession. It is a profession of dedication to children and it’s despicable teachers have to go into retirement with their Social Security money compromised. HELP!!

  28. Michael Merrill says:

    As a significant potential impact from the thousands of PERA Retirees, current & future State of Coloradans why Doesn’t PERA Provide a white paper or at least a Policy Statement of Support to eliminate WEP! This not the first attempt to correct a political injustice from not only Colorado, but, the other 49 states & Territories. To some degree it’s not the amount of money we stripped of, but, the principle. We definitely aren’t in the top 1% and this will not be a trickle down effect. Please respond in a timely fashion.

  29. Pat salas says:

    Be aware that teachers (whose summer and holiday Second jobs often pay for classroom supplies) have social security benefits reduced because they are Windfalling. But federal reps and senators get to keep 100 percent of their government pension AND social security AAND 401k or other retirement investments. Fair, right? I think NOT

    • FAITH L WILLIAMS says:

      I think the most unfair part of this is that it doesn’t only affect the government worker,but their spouse. My husband never worked for any government entity, yet because I did, I receive 0.00 widow or spousal benefit from him working and paying in for 45 years. I suppose his earnings are supporting some illegal ailiens, who have already been provided a LEGAL way to come into our country…..VERY UNFAIR PLEASE REPEAL !!!!!!

  30. Donna Theimer says:

    The way I see it is for 20 years I worked in jobs that paid into Social Security. The government sends me statements that say I have earned a certain amount of money because of that – but, because the second half of my working life I worked for a PERA organization and did not pay into SS I have to take a deduction from SS. I’m not asking for more than what I would have earned had I not gone to work for the state. I would love to see WEP eliminated! It’s unfair to watch my relatives retire with pensions from their companies and collect their full SS benefits. It’s also unfair to watch government officials collect SS and their pensions.

  31. Paul Sullivan says:

    This bill needs to be repealed. It simply is not fair to teachers that have worked and now widowed cannot get their spouses benefit.

  32. Bruce Donaghey says:

    I am a retired Police Officer affected by the WEP. It certainly is a hardship not to be able to collect my full social security benefits.

  33. Jean Sullivan says:

    Congress needs more input from all of us on H.R. 82. Ask your friends and relatives, even your children, in all states to contact their congressional representative— whether or not they like that representative.
    Open with this request. Make it easy for them to figure out what you want. It can be this simple:

    “Honorable Congressional Representative,
    Please vote YES on H.R. 82. “

    DO Include your contact information:
    Name
    Address
    And Phone and/or email address

    If you want to share your story, start a new paragraph after the top line request. Do not bury the request in your story. You may, of course, repeat the request within or again after your story.

    They are not necessarily interested in anonymous, as they want to please voters, not anonymous bots.

    Sometimes it’s only one contact that makes a difference. Also realize that very few people actually contact their representatives, so please ACTUALLY do it. Wishing certainly won’t make it happen. Call, write, email or all and make your opinion be known.

  34. Herb nelson says:

    Most unfair law I have ever heard of singal out a select group of people and penalize them are the politicians penalized on there social security because they get a retirement paid by us plus there social security plus annuities paid by us but we can’t have what we paid for and there retirements are way bigger then ares

  35. Janet Arrington says:

    When will know if these issues are repealed. Just because I worked under CSRS should not prevent my getting my husband’s SS spousal benefit. It’s no different than if I had been a private sector individual who didn’t pay SS. I was blessed with a higher salary than some jut that shouldn’t be relevant.

  36. P Day says:

    I am not a Biden supporter but I might change my mind if he does away with the WEP not just revises it as this bill proposal will do. The people who are already retired need the money more than future retiree’s because many had their wages cut during the big recession that reduced their PERA retirement. The way I read this is that the maximum their SS will increase is $150 per mo which isn’t even close to the 2/3 they reduce it.They should have to pay back all the years people have lost (they are advocating reparations for blacks from generations ago but cant afford to make this wrong right) . They can spend money on making life more comfortable for people who chose not to work & stay on welfare ( my sister) but penalize the public servants who made it a better place to live. So wrong.

    • Kevin says:

      Colorado has four Democrats in Congress. 3 out of the 4 have voted to repeal GPO/WEP. Diana DeGette has not. We have three Republican representatives in Congress. NOT ONE OF THEM has cosponsored the bill to repeal GPO/WEP. If you live in the district of DeGette or any of the Republicans, you need to contact them about HR82. I contacted my representative (Joe Neguse) and shortly thereafter, he voted to repeal GPO/WEP, then sent me a detailed letter explaining why he did it. Now THAT is a good representative!!!!

  37. Kevin says:

    Update on efforts to repeal GPO/WEP:

    GOOD NEWS:

    1. House Bill H.R.82 now has 146 cosponsors with 107 Democrats and 39 Republicans currently signing on in support. It is definitely getting bipartisan support, and the number of cosponsors grows each time I look at it. You can find more information about this Bill at https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/82/cosponsors?searchResultViewType=expanded

    2. There has now been a GPO/WEP repeal Bill introduced in the Senate. S.1302 already has 28 cosponsors with 23 Democrats, 4 Republicans and 1 Independent Senator signing on in support. To see this Bill, check out https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/1302/cosponsors?searchResultViewType=expanded

    As you all know, some Bills don’t stand a chance of getting passed because of party or personal opposition by a (often slight) majority of legislators. The two Bills mentioned above do not fall into that category. These are the types of Bills that are ‘sleepers.’ They often languish in a huge stack of legislation not out of any specific dislike by legislators, but because they don’t command enough attention. That is where you come in. If each one of you called (preferably) or wrote to your representatives (You only need to contact one Senator and one Congressperson.) and explained (briefly is fine) why you would like them to cosponsor these bills, there’s a very good chance that these Bills can be passed and sent to the President for his signature. He has already stated that he would sign any GPO/WEP repeal Bill.
    (BTW, Colorado Congressmen Perlmutter & Neguse and Senator Bennett have already cosponsored these Bills.) Please contact your representatives and ask them to cosponsor these Social Security Fairness Bills also. Thanks to Pam Arnold for sharing these phone numbers:

    Senator Hickenlooper – 202 224 5941

    Congress members who have not yet signed on to support retired public servants:
    Degette-202 225 4431
    Boebert-202 225 4761
    Buck-202 225 4676
    Lamborn-202 225-4422
    Crow-202 225-7882

    You can also reach your congress members via email/message at: https://www.congress.gov/members?q={%22congress%22:117}&searchResultViewType=expanded

    Here’s a web page to contact Senator Hickenlooper: https://www.hickenlooper.senate.gov

    A phone call AND a web/email contact would be ideal.

  38. Charlotte Ramirez says:

    Please give me what is mine , full survivor pay husband work hard for the both of us . Not fair —, GPO WINDFALL ELIMINATION PROVISION will take it all. my own pension is small enough , 30 years of hard work . help us not to be so poor in life as we will soon retire we worked SOO hard , help the widows ❤️🤝

  39. Charlotte Ramirez says:

    LAC/USC MEDICAL CENTER /LACERA FIGHT FOR GPO WINDFALL ELIMINATION PROVISION. HELP SURVIVORS/ WIDOW . OUR HUSBANDS WORKED AND PAY IN FOR US .STOP THE WRONG REDUCES SURVIVORS/ WIDOWS PAY . HE PAID INTO SSA SOO STOP THIS MADNESS. LEAVING US WITH SMALL PENSIONS AND TAKING MY SURVIVORS/WIDOW PAY AWAY HELP US THANK YOU 🤛🏻🤛🏻🤛🏻❤️🤝🤝

  40. Christine Stouffer says:

    In the article Mr. Steppat says it’s “hard to see what has changed” since the introduction and no-action on previous bills. Well, the obvious change is the election of President Biden! Perhaps he will help push it through … finally.

  41. John says:

    I am charged Max WEP because I have a pension that was earned outside of the USA. For the first 43 years of my life I lived in the UK

  42. Domonic says:

    You know this wep affects me I was a single parent and had to work not only for the state but for other jobs too and when I got into a car accident because technically wasn’t to today’s standards I didn’t get my disability retirement so got the shaft then and then was told when I do finally get my retirement it’s like half or less than it should be because I had to work other jobs to support my family same with social security disability both take away and don’t give back! You are left at a percentage less than if you worked just one! But, speaking from one of many of us whom had to give days and weeks of pay to save Colorado from shutting its doors not getting raises years in a row and having 4.0 marks excellent reviews and yet stuck with same allocation no raises no promotions to save them they are doing it now furlough days then furlough weeks well we were never compensated for the time it robbed us of in our has or years of service!!! The part that I guess that truly upsets me is that even the last thing they did where our COLA IS 1.5 % for who knows how long?! Well I’m not 65 yet so I can’t pull my retirement as of yet and at this rate if I can’t get to it I will end up on the street due to their lack of compassion and understanding for their employees it’s taken me almost 20 years to be able to read write and do math skills without having help all the time but I have to have a cna to assist me and I have to have medical assistance and I think the 90 day policy to get your disability benefits is bunk especially when not all times can everything be that straight forward! Like this law not everything is straight forward I bet you all worked somewhere in your life other than the state but did not work over the amount to pull for retirement. Me because I had been working so much and so many positions to take care of my daughter and because I had started so early in life I had quite a bit of time built up. But it’s the factor that as one person said they can work as a federal and a state employee get both benefits yet we cannot if we work it any other way it’s not right we paid for it we should be allowed to have our benefits! It’s not a gift we put our hard earned time into each position we worked well I know I did plus volunteering for the church and bingo so my daughter could get an excellent education and do whatever she wanted as an adult but she ended up giving her dream up to take care of me because I couldn’t get my disability retirement!! I don’t want other families to go through that they need to go through these outdated policies and fix them ! I have three traumatic brain injuries and if my daughter wouldn’t have helped me between Seizures and injuries and surgeries to save my arms I don’t believe I’d be able to to even text today! So these outdated policies need to change so people like me don’t live in poverty and have what we worked for given to us!

  43. Kevin says:

    Every person who has commented above has a completely valid point. I hope EVERY ONE OF YOU has also contacted your congressional representative and asked them to cosponsor H.R. 82, the current bill to repeal GPO/WEP. I guarantee you, they will listen to you on this issue. Currently, 3 out of Colorado’s 4 Democratic representatives have listened to us and cosponsored this legislation. For some reason, Diana DeGette has chosen not to support working class Americans (yet) on this issue. If you are in her district, PLEASE contact her.
    NOT ONE of Colorado’s Republican Congress members has chosen to support public servants by cosponsoring this bill. Keep in mind, this is a BIPARTISAN bill. 159 Democrats and 52 Republicans (all from OTHER states) have cosponsored HR82.
    After I contacted my representative, Joe Neguse, he voted to cosponsor the GPO/WEP repeal. Then he sent me this very nice and specific letter: ‘

    August 18, 2021

    Dear Kevin:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 82, the Social Security Fairness Act of 2021. I appreciate hearing from you because it enables me to better represent the beliefs and values of our district. I hope you will be pleased to know that I am a cosponsor of H.R. 82.

    As you know, Social Security was established by provisions in the Social Security Act in 1935. Since its establishment, the program has been modified numerous times and now provides retirement and disability benefits to over 54 million Americans, including over 693,000 Coloradans. The program is funded by workers’ payroll contributions that are matched by employers and collected in the Social Security Trust Fund.

    H.R. 82 repeals provisions of the Social Security Act that currently eliminate or reduce Social Security benefits for individuals who receive other benefits, such as pensions from state or local governments. The bill eliminates both the Government Pension Offset (“GPO”) and Windfall Elimination Provision (“WEP”)-provisions that were originally designed to prevent public employees from receiving additional benefits, however, have instead denied millions of Americans their full Social Security benefits.

    The GPO affects the spousal benefits of individuals who work as federal, state, or local government employees-such as educators, police officers, and firefighters-if the job is not covered by Social Security. The GPO can reduce the benefit received by a surviving spouse who also collects a government pension, even if their spouse paid Social Security taxes for years. The WEP can reduce Social Security benefits for an individual who also receives a pension or disability benefits from an employer that is not covered by Social Security. This affects public servants with a second job, and also affects individuals when they move from a job in which their employer withholds Social Security to another job where they do not.

    Both the GPO and WEP provisions unfairly punish individuals who have dedicated their lives to public service. This bipartisan legislation would eliminate both of those provisions and allow millions of hardworking Americans to access the benefits they have worked and contributed towards during their lifetimes. This bill is currently in the House Committee on Ways and Means, of which I am not a member. However, I will continue to keep your thoughts in mind should this bill come before me in the full House of Representatives.

    I appreciate that you took the time to contact me. It is one of my priorities that the constituents of the Second District of Colorado have their voices heard, and I encourage you to continue contacting me about the issues important to you. Please visit my website at neguse.house.gov to sign up for my e-newsletter and receive periodic updates on my activities as your Representative in Washington. You can also follow my office on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to learn more about the work we are doing.
    Sincerely,
    Congressman Joe Neguse
    Joe Neguse
    Member of Congress

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