Urge Congress: Repeal Social Security Offsets
NEA supports repealing two Social Security Act amendments that negatively impact thousands of public employees, including many teachers and education support professionals. The Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) unfairly reduce or eliminate benefits that public employees or their spouses have earned and are expecting in retirement. They impact anyone who works in a public sector job and does not pay into Social Security for that job, but anticipates the Social Security benefits from another job they or their spouse held.
The GPO reduces public employees' Social Security spousal or survivor benefits by two-thirds of their public pension. The WEP reduces the earned Social Security benefits of an individual who also receives a public pension from a job not covered by Social Security. NEA is urging Congress to pass the Social Security Fairness Act, which would completely repeal both the GPO and the WEP.
- These provisions impact educators, police officers, firefighters and other public employees who have dedicated their lives to public service.
- Nine out of 10 public employees affected by the GPO lose their entire spousal benefit, even though their spouse paid Social Security taxes for many years. Some 360,000 individuals lose an average of $3,600 a year due to the GPO — an amount that can make the difference between self-sufficiency and poverty.
- The WEP causes hard-working people to lose a significant portion of the benefits they earned themselves. The number of people impacted by these provisions across the country is growing every day as more and more people reach retirement age.
- Impacted people have less money to spend in their local economy and sometimes have to turn to expensive government programs like food stamps to make ends meet.
- Individuals who worked in other careers are less likely to want to become teachers if doing so will mean a loss of earned Social Security benefits. These provisions are also causing current educators to leave the profession, and students to choose courses of study other than education.
NEA supports this proposal.
Tell your Representatives in Congress: Stop penalizing public service! Repeal the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision.
Join the National Call to Action
NEA needs your continued help to put pressure on lawmakers to repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). Public employees have lived with these unfair burdens long enough.
Join the national call to action to call attention to the re-introduced Social Security Fairness Act and urge Members of Congress to cosponsor the bills. See the menu of activities and toolkit to make your voice heard. NEA grassroots muscle can have a strong impact on influencing legislators.
More Info on Social Security Offsets
- The Latest News on GPO/WEP
- "Offsetting Priorities," NEA Today, March 2007
- Testimony of NEA Member Patty Myers to the Senate Finance Committee, 3/20/07
- Social Security Fairness Act news conference in Washington, DC, 2/6/07
- Social Security Offsets Overview
- NEA on the Issues: Social Security
- Real Stories from People Affected by the GPO and WEP
- NEA's Partners in the Coalition to Assure Retirement Equity
Does GPO/WEP Affect Me?